Tuesday, January 27, 2009


SAN JOSE - Mayor Chuck Reed invites residents to attend a community discussion regarding a proposal to establish the César Chávez Memorial Walkway in San José. The meeting will take place on Thursday, January 29 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Pavilion from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“With the recent addition of the César Chávez Arch of Dignity, Equality, and Justice on the campus of San José State University, Downtown and Alum Rock have many landmarks related to César Chávez that reflect his great contribution to our City,” said Mayor Reed. “Many people have approached me with the idea of tying these locations together. This meeting will bring the community together to get feedback and ideas for a walkway commemorating the life and legacy of César Chávez.”

The outreach meetings will elicit the community’s opinion on topics such as the proposed route, sign design, landmarks to include, and overall thoughts on the project. Proposed plans for the Memorial Walkway consist of street signs attached to existing poles and will connect various landmarks being considered include Plaza de César Chávez, César Chávez Arch of Dignity, Equality, and Justice, Mexican Heritage Plaza, Chávez’s former home, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

The project has received the blessing of the family of César Chávez to move forward. “I convened a family meeting… their response was overwhelmingly positive and everyone agree[d] to endorse the project,” said Rudy Chávez-Medina as President of the Chávez Family Vision, Inc. in a letter to Mayor Reed. “We believe that the plans need to move forward and we are committed to working with you on this endeavor.”

In October of 2007, Mayor Reed established the Mayor’s Committee to Honor César E. Chávez in order to help expand on the civil rights leader’s legacy in San José. The volunteer, community advisory panel consists of Reverend Deacon Sal Alvarez, Monsignor Eugene Boyle, Monsignor John Sandersfield, Rudy Chávez-Medina, and former Mayor Susan Hammer. The César Chávez Memorial Walkway was expressed as a committee priority through a letter to Mayor Reed in October 2008.

“This walkway will be able to unite relevant landmarks in San José while recognizing the connection and influence that César Chávez had in our community,” wrote committee chair Sal Alvarez in his letter to Mayor Reed. “We believe that it is vital for citizens to remember the contributions of César Chávez and recognize his profound impact in protecting the exploitation of the underserved community.”

The Mayor’s Office will be planning two additional outreach meetings on the project. Those unable to attend are encouraged to submit their thoughts electronically by emailing mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Just back from Washington DC. My flight landed at 1:00 am Thursday morning after a whirlwind trip. What an amazing experience it was. I will update this post but for now, this is what it was like to be in the crowd on that historic day:


Monday, January 19, 2009


Hi everybody back home in the good ol' East Foothills. I am writing this to you in a luxurious home in suburban Virginia where the temperature outside is about 20 degrees. I'm staying with National Hispanic University President Dr. David Lopez and his family and friends. What a time!
I left sunny California yesterday for a trip to witness history: the inauguration of Barack Obama as our nation's 44th President. I took off from SFO after hugs and kisses from my wife Julie and our three kids. My flight on United was packed. I changed planes in Chicago, and made the hop, skip and jump to DC aboard what seemed like the Obama Express: lots of people heading to the inaugural. The plane was packed with excited people: ladies in Obama sweatshirts, guys in Obama caps and everyone ready for a party! Arriving in DC at 9:30 local time, it was a madhouse at Dulles Airport. The place was packed with people very dressed up for the occasion. I saw many ladies in fur coats and men in suits and topcoats. I also saw one man being helped into his outerwear while sitting in a wheelchair. The man was wearing a cap signifying him as a member of an elite and dwindling group of pilots: The Tuskeegee Airmen. This was a group of African American World War II pilots who overcame severe racism and silenced doubters in their struggle to get their wings. They not only flew, but several became aces in dogfights against enemy pilots over Germany. I interviewed one of them last year at an event in Morgan Hill. One thing that will always stick with me is a statement the pilot made about what happened to him when he got shot down. He said the Germans treated him better as a prisoner of war than his fellow countrymen on the streets of Tuskeegee. Something to think about as we head into this historic week.