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SSV members in San Jose's City Council chambers in 2010. We've almost reached our goal, but we need to pack the City Council chambers one more time in order to get there.

Earthquakes FaNS Called on To Attend
P
lanning Commission Meeting on
February 22

(January 26, 2012) As you are doubtless aware by now, there is rough patch ahead on the home stretch for the proposed new stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes, which will represent the permanent home for soccer in the Bay Area we have sought for so long.

The San Jose Planning Department has approved a planned development permit for the former FMC site near the Mineta San Jose Airport, but the nearby Newhall Neighborhood Association has appealed the decision to the San Jose Planning Commission. As with past civic hearings, we are asking all Quakes fans to attend the Planning Commission meeting and wear Quakes gear. With your much needed help, the Quakes can overcome this last appeal, and (based on our discussions with Quakes management) hopefully hold groundbreaking by opening day 2012 and begin play in the new stadium for the 2013 season!

The date for hearing the appeal is Wednesday evening, February 22, 2012, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The location is San Jose City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara St. (see below for a map as well as details on free, validated parking).

Although the Planning Commission meets in the very same chambers as the San Jose City Council, it is a separate body comprised of regular citizens, who receive a small stipend for the many hours of work but are otherwise uncompensated. Commissioners are appointed by the City Council from the San Jose community. They are unelected and are charged with making good land use decisions, not necessarily decisions which are the most popular or will appeal to the broadest constituency. Although many of their decisions are appealable to the City Council, this particular one will not be. The Planning Commission's decision will be final. So it is imperative that the Quakes and their fan base make the best case for upholding the approval of the planned development permit on its merits. Happily, we believe the facts are on our side and the appeal deserves to be rejected, but your attendance will help bring that message home.

Again, we are asking all Quakes fans to make every effort to attend the meeting wearing Quakes gear and fill the chamber, sending a strong message by your presence alone as to the value of the stadium and the continued presence of the Quakes to the community. We hope this is the last time we will need to ask, and we appreciate your role in the collective might of the Quakes fan base.

We are not asking fans to speak out publicly if they feel uncomfortable doing so. However, as in the past, those fans who wish to speak publicly at the meeting will be able to do so. And you may send emails to the commissioners in advance of the meeting. Contact information for individual commissioners may be found here. You do not need to communicate with the mayor or city council members, since they are not supposed to influence the process.

While we respect the right of the immediate neighbors to make their appeal, we do not believe that it should be permitted to impede progress on a soccer stadium. We have been waiting for such a stadium for a period of, literally, years, and further delays at this point could prove disastrous. Even good-intentioned "tweaking" of the planned development permit — a permit which planning staff has already recommended in its present state — could entail sufficient uncertainty and additional expense to conceivably derail the entire project. This would result in the loss of numerous construction jobs in a difficult economy, would entail the loss of tens of millions of dollars of annual economic impact for San Jose, and also would set a terrible precedent for San Jose's – and essentially the same ownership group's – efforts to build a baseball stadium. San Jose's reputation as a place where large-scale, world-class development can take place is very much at stake on this appeal.

While you are at San Jose City Hall for the Planning Commission meeting, please take the opportunity to view the ongoing history museum exhibit sponsored by SSV Community Foundation, "City of Champions: 2001, a San Jose Soccer Odyssey," which is on display on the first floor outside the council chambers. While it focuses on the 2001 championships won by the Quakes and CyberRays, the exhibit also traces top flight soccer in the Bay Area from the 1960s Clippers to the present, and features artifacts such as Brandi Chastain's famous sports bra, Wondo's "golden" game-worn boots and the "Build It Now!" banner which has hung in Buck Shaw stadium the last couple seasons. Please come see the history – and, more importantly, come to the Planning Commission meeting on February 22 to be a part of it.

San Jose's City Hall is at 200 East Santa Clara Street. A map is available here. Free validated parking is available in the underground City Hall garage — enter off of S. 6th Street and bring your parking voucher to the council chambers — the validation machine is there. Parking is also available for a fee at the 4th Street Garage behind City Hall (enter heading south off of S. 4th St., a half block south of Santa Clara St.) and the Third Street Garage (enter heading north off 3rd St. a half block north of Santa Clara Street). (Note that both 3rd and 4th streets are one-way.)

Thank you, as always, to each and every one of you for your critical role with SSV, the unified voice of the thousands-strong San Jose Earthquakes fanbase.




Photo: JN Santos, International Sports Images

SSV's Founding Members (left to right): Colin McCarthy, Mike Turco, Don Gagliardi, Carol Vartuli-Marin, John Jussen, Jay Hipps, and Tony Huston.

 


 
February 22, 2012
San Jose Planning Commission, 6:30 PM
Planning Permit Appeal Hearing, San Jose City Hall. Wear your Earthquakes gear!