The role of liberal democrats in foiling regional cooperation
March 26, 2014 — While I wholeheartedly support your proposal [“Left behind: San Jose and the broken promises of the neoliberal era”] for regional revenue sharing in the Silicon Valley region, reading it struck me as a deja vu experience.
In the 1980s, then Republican State Senator Rebecca Morgan (wife of Applied Material chief executive officer Jim Morgan) tried to advance this idea in the state legislature and even circulated a bill. Even though she was from the fortunate north valley, she understood the practical issues of regional interdependance. What she found out, however, is that her well-off neighbors liked the unequal deal and scuttled it.
That is why a progressive as savvy as former San Jose budget director Bob Brownstein rejects the idea now. He had the task of balancing San Jose’s budget in better but still difficult times and was forced to support busness incentives because they were the only deal on offer.
Palo Alto in particular is a very powerful force among liberal democrats (where do you think national democrats come to fill their campaign coffers) who would otherwise be supportive of such arrangements. If you doubt my logic, consider the fate of schools in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Just a stone’s throw from each other but as unequal as Mississippi and Minnesota — [a disparity that is] completely ignored.
— Steve Malone, San Jose, Calif.