Tom McEnery

Tom McEnery

Posts by Tom McEnery

Six Degrees of Separation from Steve Jobs or the Shoulders of San Pedro Square

We all stand on the shoulders of others in the building of a city or a nation. Nowhere is that more true of our valley than in one strip of San Jose called San Pedro Square. A boy named Luis Peralta traveled north from Tubac, in Old Mexico, fully 1,000 miles, and he settled in this area; the DeAnza Party followed. We move from Peralta to Fallon, Masson, Giannini, Disney, Hewlett and Packard, and on to Jobs in a few short steps and some 200 years of San Jose history.

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Brash Young Jobs Wrote Own Epitaph

In his famous challenge to John Sculley, Steve Jobs asked if he wanted to spend his life selling sugared water to kids, or did he want to change the world? Jobs was quite a salesman. About a year after that famous quote, I saw much of that legendary asset when I met him to discuss the new Apple headquarters that he wanted to build in the southern reaches of San Jose. He had I.M. Pei to design it, bundles of cash, more cachet and a plan that was “awesome.” And he made me an offer that was tough to refuse: He’d make San Jose a great city. Jobs even talked about living in a loft downtown.

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Remembering the Kennedys

Ted Kennedy is dead.

Even after the funeral obsequies, how strange it is to hear; how jarring to read. Like all people, ordinary ones or acclaimed historians, I have been reviewing my connection to him and to the Kennedy family.


From Saigon to Hanoi

Tom McEnery recently returned from a visit to Vietnam. This is the third article in a three-part series.

Perhaps it was never expressed better than by Graham Greene’s fictional journalist Fowler (played by Michael Caine in the recent film, The Quiet American) when he notes of the naïve American: “ I never knew a man who had better motive for all the trouble he caused.” As I visited Hue I thought of Tet, and the victories that broke the American will to continue,  those pyrrhic victories, and the carnage on both ends of that offensive and its aftermath.

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Saigon: the Second Look

Tom McEnery recently returned from a visit to Vietnam. This is the second in a three-part series.

Beyond the Continental Hotel and the Cathedral of Notre Dame—we just missed a wedding there—is a place I was both anxious and nervous to see. It was once called the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes. But in slight bow to political expediency,  it has a new name: The War Remnants Museum.

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Saigon: The Original

“My father insists that I call it Saigon—you see, he was in the Southern Army,”  was the simple, direct way our guide informed us why he used the city’s old name.  The comment was made in near perfect English. “Sometimes we say Ho Chi Minh City,” he conceded, “but I prefer Saigon.”  This was our introduction to a place so much in American minds for the last forty years, just recently a significant factor in San Jose politics.

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New Year’s Greetings

Another year. They all seem to blend together at a certain point. Part of the problem of getting older, I guess, is the sameness. But it’s also an opportunity. You can see the similarities with a bit of perspective, and enjoy the way things seems so calm and, even, I venture, understandable. When you look at San Jose, you can’t help but getting a warm and positive feeling. Even in the face of the greatest economic downturn in our lifetimes, people remain positive and even hopeful for the new year.

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A Christmas Wish

It’s the time of year when we’re all in a very good mood. The Sharks won last night capping the best start in their era and one of the best in National Hockey League history. The rain was light. People seemed festive in Downtown and Valley Fair, although a bit harried in the latter stop.

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Rogues in Robes

Recently, a blog by The Fly referred to some cops in its title as “Rogues”—few of us who live and work Downtown see it that way.  We admire and appreciate them greatly. But here’s a group of dangerous people that we should be worried about.

Very, very soon, three federal judges will be deciding whether to free 52,000 of California’s 172,000 prison inmates because of overcrowding. And we have to ask the question: “Haven’t we tried this before—and with disastrous results?”


Is Redevelopment Really the Devil?

There has been much discussion on this blog, and elsewhere in California, about the state government’s so-called raid on redevelopment funds to help balance the budget. A couple of weeks back, Dan Walters, the longtime Sacramento Bee columnist, weighed in, pouncing on local redevelopment agencies (San Jose’s is one of the biggest) as the epitome of waste, and touting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to take $228 million a year from redevelopment agencies.

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