Business

Lew Wolff Unveils Earthquakes Soccer Stadium Plans

San Jose Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff was the keynote speaker at the Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SSVCF) annual dinner at the Fairmont Hotel Saturday night. At a highly anticipated event, Wolff showed a 10-minute video presentation that included architectural designs of what the proposed soccer stadium across Coleman Avenue from the Mineta San Jose International Airport will look like, once corporate sponsorships are finally secured. SSVCF is a not a booster club—they are not technically affiliated with the Earthquakes.

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It’s Not Easy Being Greenest

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the greenest of them all? San Francisco claims it is, but so do Seattle, Portland, and even Detroit, home of the Big Three automakers. Since he came into office, Mayor Chuck Reed has been pitching San Jose is as the nation’s green capital, and he will prove it to anyone who doubts him.

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NUMMI: Probably Gone for Good

The Toyota Corporation recently announced that the NUMMI Plant in Fremont will be closed next March.  Last week, a number of NUMMI workers and a handful of politicians held a rally outside of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco office to protest the decision to close down the plan

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The White Russians are (Still) Coming

The Caravan Lounge has poured strong drinks on South Almaden Avenue in downtown San Jose for at least 45 years, but ever since current property owners Jan Chargin and Lynn M. Bohnen asked the Redevelopment Agency in 2007 to buy the building, rumors have run rampant about what would finally happen to the classic dive bar. The San Jose City Council was scheduled to vote today on whether the RDA should fork over $1,120,000 for the property, plus an extra $187,000 in “relocation” costs to current Caravan operator, George Rich.

However, the meeting adjourned 15 minutes ago with no mention of the Caravan.

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Ridden Out of Town

“We are sorry to say the city is forcing us to move. For now we will be open by appointment only.” So reads a small sign taped to the locked front door of Moto Amore in downtown San Jose. The small scooter sales and service shop, located in the old Tenth Street Pharmacy building, officially started its move to Santa Clara last Monday, following months of what owner John Bettencourt says has been an uphill struggle dealing with San Jose’s code enforcement bureaucracy.

“Have you ever heard that the city is not friendly to downtown small business? Well, every word of it is true,” says Bettencourt, 39. “It’s one thing to say you need a permit, but it’s another thing to make it impossible to get one.”

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What’s Behind the Cisco Layoffs?

Just over a month ago, San Jose-based Cisco Systems replaced GM on the Dow Jones list of the nation’s biggest companies. Now the networking and communications giant announced that it will be laying off some 700 people at its corporate headquarters in San Jose. The move is part of a larger strategy, announced in November, to reduce spending by $1 billion in fiscal 2009. At the time, the company announced that it “will be targeting reductions in travel and discretionary-related expenses, including offsites, outside services … and other activities.” The company is now saying that “this limited restructuring is part of our ongoing, targeted realignment of resources.”

Critics are noting that Cisco’s second corporate headquarters in Bangalore, India, is soon to be expanded to 3,000 workers.

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Club Wet’s Permit Pulled

Another downtown club went dark last week as SJPD Chief Rob Davis used the city’s urgency ordinance for the first time, suspending the entertainment permit of the SoFA district’s Club Wet for one month. Recent club closures unrelated to the urgency ordinance include Taste, The Vault Ultralounge and Johnny V’s.  The urgency measure gives the chief broad discretion to close businesses viewed as imminent threats to public safety. The ordinance was passed by the city council two years ago following a shooting incident in the parking lot outside Club Ambassador.

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Will BART Make it to San Jose?

Although it is struggling with a four-year $250 million deficit, BART may yet reach San Jose. The California Transportation Commission will be voting today whether to extend the service. To date, some $400 million has already been allocated to the project, which would add 16.1 miles of track to the line. Today’s vote is for another $40 million, the first installment of an expected $240 million. The total cost is expected to hover around $6.1 billion, much of which will come from federal funding. Santa Clara County voters narrowly approved a 1/8-cent sales tax to help pay for the extension in November.

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Hope Amid the Gloom

In the midst of the city’s worst budget crisis and a worldwide recession, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed headed a panel yesterday that focused solely on the city’s upside, and new efforts to stimulate local business. “This is a no-bad-news zone,” Reed announced to a crowd of business leaders, investors, building owners and realtors gathered in the San Jose City Hall Rotunda for lunch.

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