Articles

A sample of articles that span topics such as San Jose/Silicon Valley history, cities, and 20th Century Irish History as well as some personal family history.

Time to drop duplicitous incompetent governor

If Woody Allen was right, and 80 percent of success is just showing up, then Gray Davis’ other 20 percent has cost Californians dearly. While his popularity crashes to unheard-of new lows, the state wallows in fiscal chaos. Yes, our Legislature is locked in bipartisan inertia, but we have the same confidence in it to resolve the budget woes that we would in teenage boys to avoid girls and strong spirits. No, it is the governor whom we trust to be prudent, if not wise. In this hope, we have been savagely disappointed. The only bastions of support for this … Continue reading

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City Hall belongs on Santa Clara Street

Sunday Opinion page By Tom McEnery On a morning very early in 1989, I heard the wail of police sirens as I was finishing a speech at the Fairmont Hotel. As mayor, I was acutely aware of this sound, but this time there seemed to be a confluence of many sirens quite nearby. I hurried over to Fifth and Santa Clara to see what the problem was and much to my dismay, learned that two of our police officers, Gordon Silva and Gene Simpson, had been shot in a gun battle with a deranged man. Simpson died immediately; Silva a few … Continue reading

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California Dreaming

(no date given) In the early morning hours of August 1914, the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, stood on the balcony at the Whitehall contemplating the cataclysmic outbreak of World War I. Observing the lamps being extinguished, one by one, below on the street, he said fatalistically: The lights are going out all over Europe, and they will not be relit in our lifetime.” An observer of today’s California political firmament might utter the same refrain. It has been the ugliest and least instructive election since the know – Nothing Party led vicious assaults in the late 19th century. … Continue reading

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Lack of Character at Core of Clinton’s Downfall

by Tom McEnery Last month I visited a place well known in American history: Omaha Beach. It is difficult to imagine these placid sands were once the site of one of the great, bloody events in World War II. There, 54 years ago, young men gave their last full measure of devotion to free Europe. Nowhere was this better exemplified that at Pointe du Hoc, where American Rangers scaled sheer cliffs under murderous fire to destroy German guns overlooking the landing beaches. They were not reckless, but very committed, led by a 34-year-old colonel. Of the 225 who began the assault, … Continue reading

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Tom McEnery bylines San Jose Mercury News 1987 to 1997

    By Tom McEnery Published on May 23, 1997, San Jose Mercury News (CA) MORE CULTURE, PLEASE IMAGINE: MARIACHIS, ART, HISTORY, PEOTRY . . . ”THE streets of this city are safe. It’s only the people that make them unsafe.” This strange utterance came out of the mouth of a police chief and later mayor of Philadelphia. The balance that a city strikes between public safety and the people’s right to assemble and celebrate is a delicate one.   By Tom McEnery Published on November 8, 1994, San Jose Mercury News (CA) POLITICAL LIGHTS GO OUT IN THE early … Continue reading

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More Culture, Please Imagine: Mariachis, Art, History, Poetry

  Editorial Page: 10B By Lou Cobarruviaz and Tom McEnery Lou Cobarruviaz is San Jose’s police chief, and Tom McEnery is a former San Jose mayor. ”THE streets of this city are safe. It’s only the people that make them unsafe.” This strange utterance came out of the mouth of a police chief and later mayor of Philadelphia. The balance that a city strikes between public safety and the people’s right to assemble and celebrate is a delicate one. Now that San Jose’s largest festival, Cinco de Mayo, is over, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. The festival itself went well, but … Continue reading

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Resurrection City

  America’s great cities have failed. The 21st century needs “good” cities that work. And San Jose may be the first. By Richard Rapaport “There’s the Emerald City,” Tom McEnery says, only half jesting from behind the wheel of his green Lexus as it crests Communication Hill traveling north on Highway 87 toward downtown San Jose. To the west, Mount Umunum and the Santa Cruz Mountains loom darkly. To the east glow the ochre-colored foothills of Mount Hamilton. Directly ahead, in the broad valley between the heights, lies a verdant plain in which five miles distance, a score of gleaming glass … Continue reading

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Ancient Town in N. Ireland Holds History – and Promise

San Francisco Chronicle By Tom McEnery Derry, Northern Ireland An optimistic Bill Clinton Spoke here a few days ago. For centuries, others have come to this spot. First, Celts and Vikings, then Normans and Saxons sought its safe harbor. Beneath the gentle sloping hills, this place has always beckoned. The ancient wars were decided here – the tocsin of 1689 and the savage defense of the city by Protestants is still celebrated today. It is a source of partisan pride and communal division. Friends in uniform also arrived. This is the city that welcomed the American Expeditionary Force’s vanguard to Europe … Continue reading

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— Will the Walls in Belfast Crumble?

San Francisco Chronicle By Tom McEnery THE WALLS still stand. They are impossible to avoid, separating neighborhoods, streets, an entire city. Some of them are stark and bleak, an awful gray presence, just like the fortified police stations that dot the street corners; others are buff-colored and buffered with greenery, an incongruous tip of the hat to environmental sensitively. Children play in their shadows. In an era that has seen the collapse of the walls of hatred and oppression in Berlin, Johannesburg and the Kremlin, this is a city like no other. Welcome to Belfast. The city is more British than … Continue reading

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Two Books for the Office Library

San Jose Business Journal   From time to time, publishers will send us a book to review. Most end up on the shelf-unread. A few are worth grabbing from the pile, reading and writing about. Here’s my look at two recent ones that crossed my desk. – A Higher Standard of Leadership, Lessons form the Life of Ghandi. (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $21.95). Having witnessed the excess of the ’80’s in U.S. business, Ghandi authority Keshavan Nair thought that the spiritual leader might help return some measure of moral enlightenment to the workplace. In this book, Mr. Nair extracts from Ghandi’s teachings … Continue reading

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