So most of you have no idea that this is going on, but there’s this huge situation going on with San Jose card clubs. The results of a 4 year inquiry were reported, and since then, every single day there’s been an article on the front page of the Mercury dealing with it.
Basically, there are 2 legal card clubs in San Jose – Bay 101 and Garden City. For years, card clubs have been supported by the local government, most notably by ex-San Jose mayor Susan Hammer. The reasoning being, they generate a lot of useful tax revenue for the city, in the millions of dollars. Some people are cynical, noting how much these card clubs contributed to politcal campaigns, but whatever.
Anyway, it’s really fascinating. Card clubs are apparently dominated now by Asians, and Asian card games, particularly Vietnamese. And the report says much loan sharking and violence occurs. Which is not surprising, in my mind.
So I have two thoughts about the articles. One is that Bellarmine owns San Jose. I don’t know how many of you people realize this, but Bellarmine is intricately linked with pretty much all the powerful municipal political figures. It’s really crazy. The article quoted someone saying how, in the past, local politics was very chummy, and a matter of hanging with the right people, going to the right schools, and so forth. Anyway, the right school is Bellarmine.
The ex-owner of Garden City who was convicted of profit skimming and money laundering went to Bellarmine, and his son was in my class. I don’t know anything about his father, but every time I read about what happened at the Garden City in the paper, I just felt really sad, because his son, my classmate, was seriously a really really good guy. He’s one of those guys who were cool enough to be popular, but was still good to the little people, the losers, like me. I liked him, so it made me a bit sad.
But at any rate, there was the Bellarmine connection there. And for years, there’s been a council member who’s been the most vocal opponent of card clubs in San Jose. And the thing is, if I recall correctly, this person’s son went to Bellarmine also.
At any rate, it’s crazy, because San Jose politicians having connections to Bellarmine is the norm, not the exception. Tom McEnery, the ex-mayor for whom the convention center is named, is a Bellarmine alum. Many others. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, because some of those associations are shady, but the fact is, Bellarmine is intimately linked to power in San Jose.
The current mayor is very against the card clubs, so it’s very likely they’ll lose their licenses and be closed down. And I’m very happy about that. I’m very very against legalized gambling. I’ve only been to Las Vegas once, but it was the most depressed I’d been in a while. You can argue, as a Hoover fellow did in the Mercury, that gambling does not increase crime. But I don’t know, it’s just the whole atmosphere that I find incredibly sad and honestly pathetic. It’s just not good, and it doesn’t produce anything. And it increases crime, I think, in more insidious, indirect ways that can’t be easily measured. I don’t know, I hate it.
And I especially hate the argument that they’re good for the area because of the revenue it brings in. I don’t know, this is just a lame argument.
So anyway, you can see that I’m pretty against legalized gambling, so I’m happy that the card clubs are closing. I cannot express how much I dislike it. It really depressed me that that voter measure regarding Indian casinos passed. I just think it sucks.
So, you may not care about this topic at all, but it’s been in the news all week, so it’s been on my mind.
Dave’s last entry is the best one he’s written in a long time. It is very clear that he needs to go to Korea. His entries either in Korea, or dealing with Korea, are uniformly good (to me, at least). That’s what it’s all about.
I wrote this once before, but there’s no formula to what makes a good thoughts page. What ends up being most interesting is what’s most interesting for each person, and that varies. But when you’re really into something, the passion just tends to show, regardless of the topic. It’s something you can’t really point out exactly, but the passion just shines through.
Anyway, I like Dave’s entries best when it’s about Korea, so it’s obviously something he has some feeling for. So he needs to go there.