Thing Family

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Halloween in San Jose Japan-town is a popular annual event for families. Some of the scheduled events were trick or treat activities with merchants and a local church, arts and crafts, San Jose Taiko performance, a haunted house, and a San Jose Taiko dance party to end the day.

Costumes in reference to Dr. Seuss’s characters from “Cat in the Hat.” Thing 1 in carriage and Thing 2 upcoming baby

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2017 Viva Calle in San Jose

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Family and relatives preparing to participate in the 2017 Viva Calle at the Mexican Heritage Plaza

On Sunday September 17, 2017 a diverse and lively crowd of 150,000 people from the greater Bay Area participated in the 3rd Annual 2017 Viva Calle in San Jose. The event was inspired by Guillermo Penalosa’s 8 80 Cities organization in Toronto that brings citizens to increase transportation and public space to create vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities. There were thousands of families, college students, kids, walkers, sting rays, fixies, cruisers, commuter bikes, bmx bikes, folding bikes, bike with trailers, and rent-a-bikes among others. This year’s theme of the event was called “Downtown and Eastbound El Corazon” because the route included the culturally rich Japan-town, downtown, the Mexican Heritage Plaza, Alum Rock, and the Lake Cunningham area. The event had something for everyone including making the streets safer by getting cars off the road, exercise, music, and Pokeman games at St. James Park and the Japan-town area. The Viva Calle brought all races and cultures to celebrate together for one day.

http://www.vivacallesj.org/

http://www.880cities.org/

Google and the Future of San Jose

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A diverse crowd of over 200 people attended a town hall meeting about Google’s proposed mega-campus in downtown San Jose on Thursday August 24th 2017 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The meeting was coordinated by Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of local groups such as Affordable Housing Network, Asians American for Community Involvement, Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, Latinos United for A New America, NAACP San Jose Chapter, SEIU, Silicon Valley De-Bug, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, Unite HERE Local 19, and Working Partnerships USA among others.

At the meeting residents addressed their concerns about the consequences of the Google campus such as increased costs of housing, inadequate high paying jobs, lack of diversity in employment, inefficient public transportation, lack local business support, and homelessness. Housing in particular is a major social issue and the Google campus will only exacerbate the problem.

Google has been in direct negotiations with City of San Jose but has neglected it’s own residents. Currently Google in in control of the plans for the mega-campus but this meeting and future meetings were organized to bring more equity and rational planning into the discussion. The meeting was a starting point to hear people’s voice and craft a more balanced plan that will hopefully benefit, Google, San Jose, and it’s residents.

Caltrain

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Photograph taken at the Santa Clara Train Station and is the oldest remaining station in California built in 1863.

Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose and continuing to Gilroy. It’s origins date back in 1863 with the San Jose Railroad Company. Caltrain was developed later in 1992 when the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board took control of it’s operations. Caltrain is in the process of modernizing it’s train system as currently it is operated by diesel train engines on standard rail tracks. The plan called CalMod is to electrify it’s tracks, operate faster trains, add service, and replace it’s cars by 2020.

Homecoming

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Beef Teriyaki Skewering

The Obon Festival is a time when Japanese-American people return to their communities and honor the deceased. According the Buddhist Church, the Obon Festival is called Kangi-e, the gathering of joy. Obon for many is considered a homecoming because it is a time when people return to their hometowns to see family and friends, dance, play games, and eat.

Silvery Towers Picket

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Union workers picket Silvery Towers in down-town San Jose over hiring scab workers on May 31, 2017. According to Al Gonzalez, a business representative for UA Local 393, Silvery Towers was sold to Guangzhou R&F Properties in China. Full Power Construction an affiliate of Guangzhou R&F then hired non-union workers from outside the area.
It was also learned that Guangzhou R&F Properties lured Chinese millionaires to invest at least $500,000 in their project in order to obtain a US green card due to the EB-5 Visa program. The EB-5 Visa program is an archaic investor program enabling entrepreneurs to apply for a green card if they invest or provide jobs for workers.
Full Power Construction hired inexperienced non-union plumbers, sheet-metal workers, and electricians as low as $15 up to $30 a hour who are often inadequate for the work.
Full Power Construction are not paying workers family sustaining wages especially for the costly Silicon Valley area. They are not hiring local workers, apprentices, women, and veterans in order to cut costs and increase their profit margins. In addition the EB-5 scheme doesn’t really benefit local workers or help decrease local housing costs but only to make more money for Guangzhou R&F Properties.

San Jose Community Mural Bike Ride

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Over 200 bicycle riders showed up on the San Jose Mural bike ride on Saturday March 4, 2017. The bicycle ride was basically a way to learn about San José’s diverse, vibrant, and rich culture traversing the communities of Gardner, Down-town, East Side, Mayfair, and Japan-town.

The starting point was the Aztec Calendar mural at the Gardner Community Center painted by Antonio Nava Torres in 1995. Nearby we visited the Washington Elementary mural designed by 3rd and 4th graders and painted by local artists.

Afterwards we rode to the East Side to see “The Mural de la Raza” by Jose Meza, one of the oldest murals in San Jose on Story Road, and is about history of the Chicano community. It was highlighted by a talk by “The Homeboy Mad” or Jose Valle.

Heading towards Japan-town we visited Guadalajara Market on Empire Street in San Jose and is the site of 2 murals. It was be the new site of Empire 7 Studios in the future. The highlight of the tour was the exquisite Nosego mural Nichi Bei Busan in San Jose Nihonmachi which we took a group photo.

The San Jose Mural Bicycle ride was organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, De-Bug, and Empire Seven Studios.