Pre-Internet Newspapers Go Online (Circa 1981)

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Channel 4 KRON TV news report from 1981 details how the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspapers were adopting news articles for online delivery. You have to stop and think about what that meant back then. The Apple II home computer ruled the classrooms. The IBM PC was still several years off. Hobbyist computer systems that connected electronic keyboards to black-and-white TV’s were available to anyone with a soldering iron. CompuServe and America Online (AOL) were emerging online services. What would become the modern Internet was accessible only through military and university computer networks.

The first commercial Hayes modem came out that year to set the communication standard for a computer to connect to another computer over the plain old telephone at a lighting fast speed of 300-bits-per-second. (Today’s 30-megabits-per-second cable modem is 100,000 times faster in comparison.) As the anchorwoman pointed out in the YouTube video, it would take over two hours to download the daily $0.20 USD newspaper and the phone company charging $5.00 USD per hour.

Newspapers back then weren’t worry about losing money to an online news service. Flash forward 30 years into the future, the dead tree edition of the daily newspaper is declining as readers read mostly free news from the Internet over their cellphones and tablets. Like many industries that embraced computer technology, newspaper publisher never looked far enough down the road to see how their existing business model must change from the physical to the virtual. I stopped subscribing to the dead tree edition years ago, mostly because the neighbors kept stealing the newspapers off my apartment doorstep before I left for work in the morning.

President Obama At Wal-Mart

Presidential Obama @ Mountain View WalmartPresident Obama landed in Silicon Valley to do the usual political fundraising to shake money loose from the movers and shakers, and visit the Wal-Mart Store in Mountain View to promote energy efficiency. Visiting Wal-Mart surprised me. Having visited that particular location after a job interview several weeks ago, the floor was dirty, the shelves were in disarray, and the lighting was terrible. Looking at the pictures taken at the presidential event, the store was clean, neat and well-lit.

Perhaps the president can visit this Wal-Mart more often?

Although rolling out solar panels at all its stores is commendable, Wal-Mart isn’t exactly the poster child of a responsible corporate citizen.

Wal-Mart pays their employees minimum wage and let them to work just enough hours per week to qualify for food stamps, forcing taxpayers to subsidize Wal-Mart’s high profits. And it’s perfectly legal under existing laws. According to one study (download the PDF here) by Demos, Wal-Mart could easily pay employees a higher wage by using the money set aside for their annual stock buyback program and save taxpayers a bundle.

Wal-Mart’s executives don’t play by the same rules as their minimum wage employees. When growth for fiscal year 2014 fell to 1.6% and missed the incentive compensation threshold at 1.8%, no one told the executives, “Better luck next year.” That would be unfair! Wal-Mart “re-adjusted” the numbers to award millions of dollars to their executives for having a lousy year.

Did I ever mentioned that I got laid off from last my job because the Fortune 500 CEO laid off 10% of the work force and gave himself a raise for having a lousy fiscal year?

If Wal-Mart ever put employees above profit (something that Costco has done successfully for many years), Wall Street would scream bloody murder. Maximizing profits at someone else’s expense is known as the modern “free market” system: privatizing profits and socializing losses. God forbid if corporations and executives bear the consequences of their actions in a true capitalist system.

The Blue Cube Disappearing From Silicon Valley

Blue Cube DemolishedWhile crisscrossing Silicon Valley on the light rail to attend a job interview in Mountain View, I noticed the Blue Cube (a.k.a., Onizuka Air Force Station) for the first time in years. Or what was left of it. The large satellite dishes outside the building were long gone after the base closure in 2010. The blue walls that concealed the tracking operations of military satellites were coming down one wall at a time. Like many iconic buildings from 50 years ago, the redeveloped site will become a new educational facility.

After I turned eighteen in 1988, I started working in construction with my father for a few years. We had a short job at the Blue Cube to build a block wall near one of the outer buildings, which was both exciting and scary at the same time. Military Police at the checkpoint patted us down and inspected the truck (presumably for weapons and/or spying devices). We followed a patrol car to the construction site, where the M.P. unlocked the chain link gate, signaled for us to drive through, and locked the gate behind us. During the whole time we built the wall, M.P.s with assault rifles and snarling police dogs patrolled the perimeter of the construction site. Whenever we stood next to the fence, an M.P. would stand on the opposite side with the police dog ready to lunge at the fence.

That was my first and last visit to a military installation.

Another iconic Cold War-era structure is under threat. Although the summit of Mount Umunhum will eventually become a public park, the five-story radar tower of the former Almaden Air Force Station will get demolished unless money is found to preserve and restore the structure by 2017. For the first eight years of my life, I would walk out of my family home each morning to look south to see the bright red radar dishes on the tower. As I gotten older and became something of an amateur historian, I learned how integrated the U.S. military complex—and the threat of nuclear annihilation—was into the electronic fabric of Silicon Valley.

Bye-Bye At The Century Domes

Century Domes Are ClosedAfter the Retro Dome had one last showing of “Raiders of The Lost Ark” at the Century 21 with 1,000 people in attendance, the iconic Century Domes has closed their doors after nearly 50 years. Without a historical landmark designation, the Domes are destined for the dustbin of history. My friend and I attended party, and, not surprisingly, we found ourselves in the front row because of the sold-out crowd. Beach balls were flying fast and furious as people knocked them about.

As the announcements got made, the booing and hissing got louder.

The Retro Dome people had a meeting with the Santana Row developer that acquired a 99-year lease—not a 50-year lease as previously reported—to redevelop the Winchester Boulevard property. The developer has no interest in preserving the domes, would demolish all the buildings (including the Flames Restaurant at the corner), and build another Santana Row II with more luxury stores and expensive housing. (The most popular audience rumor was that Bloomingdale and Saks Fifth Street will become anchor tenants.) If the any of the domes do get a historical landmark designation, the surviving domes will not remain as movie theaters and get retrofitted into something else.

Everyone, of course, got encouraged to contact the San Jose mayor and their council member to get a historical landmark designation for the Century Domes and reject the demolition permit that waiting for approval. The city, of course, would rather have the jobs, development fees and sales tax revenues that comes from a big project like this. Given the choice between preserving the a historical building and adding to the city’s bottom line, San Jose doesn’t have a good track record in saving old buildings that aren’t historical landmarks.

As for “Raiders of The Lost Ark,” this wasn’t my first time seeing it on the big screen. I saw the IMAX version that came out in 2012. But I really enjoyed watching the movie on the big screen at Century 21, as it has the special magic that the IMAX lacks. The audio system packed an incredible wallop with each gunshot, reminding me how the explosions from some movies can rattle my lungs. Since Borders closed at Santana Row in 2011, my friend and I have gone to other theaters with better hangout spots. We haven’t realized how much we have missed the Century Domes until this final showing.

Hiring Managers Are Wasting My Time

Free To WorkAs a favor to a recruiter, I went to a job interview at a startup company in North San Jose to gather more information on the position in question. The HR department wanted someone with desktop experience in rolling 300+ systems, setting up cubicles and doing occasional phone support. A perfect match to my resume. The last candidate who interviewed ran out when the hiring manager presented a different job description. According to a recent Monster article, this was the number one job search lie when a company can’t agree on the same job description.

When I sat down for my job interview, the first thing that the hiring manager told me was that he hated my four-page resume. That didn’t surprise me. Recruiters and databases love my four-page resume, chronicling my 15+ years of misadventures in Silicon Valley. Hiring managers, not so much. I do have a two-page resume with the last three years on the front page and a summary of past positions, education and certifications on the back page. I haven’t found a right balance for this particular problem.

Although I offered him a copy of the two-page resume, the hiring manager didn’t what to see it. What he really wanted to see was a one-page resume because he didn’t like to read. That’s an interesting attitude. Most tech professionals, especially those going after certifications, have to read volumes of technical data to become proficient in their field. I’m always fascinated when I run into people who are tech-savvy but don’t like to read. That seems like an oxymoron to me.

Who in Silicon Valley looks for a job with a one-page resume?

High school and college graduates. The 18- to 25-year-old demographic was probably what the hiring manager wanted to hire. Get them young and cheap by dangling the pre-IPO carrot in their face. Being the young and the restless in this economy, they have no clue of what they are getting into and will run the treadmill for an elusive carrot.

A pre-IPO as a recruitment inducement doesn’t mean squat to me. The last pre-IPO I went though started off at $20 USD per share in 1999 and dwindled down to $0.20 USD per share in 2001 during the Dot Com Bust. With 15+ years of technical experience, I did have enough experience to go after the hiring manager’s job and get in line for a bigger slice of the pre-IPO pie. Another reason not to hire old farts like myself.

After I spent ten minutes explaining what I did for the last three years, the hiring manager told me that he wanted a person to do phone support exclusively, provide encyclopedic answers to technical questions, and hit the ground running without any training. Like the previous candidate before me, this was where we parted ways.

This wasn’t the first time that a hiring manager pulled a bait-and-switch on the job description—and usually for less pay. One company lured me into an interview for a $25 USD per position and interviewed me for a $15 USD per hour position. I walked out. It didn’t help matters that the hiring manager assistant accidentally emailed me the salary spreadsheet that showed everyone making an average $10 USD per hour.

The recruiter wasn’t pleased to hear that hiring manager wasted our time. This feedback will go back to the HR department at the startup company, where the hiring manager will get upbraided for wasting everyone’s time. Maybe, maybe not. Startup companies tend to breed peculiar people who are unlikely to change, especially when a pre-IPO carrot in front of them.

The Thing About Emma Watson’s Thong

Emma Watson At The OscarsWhen I heard the news that Emma Watson sported a see-through dress and a thong on the red carpet at the Oscars, I had to groan and shake my head. But, being the huge Hermione Granger fan that I am, I did check out the pictures. The back of the dress was a see-through from top to bottom, the top being more so than the bottom. I don’t think I would have noticed that the bottom was a see-through unless someone told me. I was quite relieved not to see the triangle of the thong peeking out from underneath.

As a young computer technician many years ago, I had a woman co-worker who was always flashing her thong at me. I could not look away from my computer screen without noticing that her T-shirt and jeans had parted ways as she bent over to do something near my cube. A tiny triangle of cloth rested above her bare ass cheeks. Everyday she wore a different thong. I don’t think I ever saw the same thong twice. That went on for a year.

One day we had lunch together in the cafeteria when most of our coworkers who would normally join us were out sick. Somehow we started talking about her collection of thongs. Somehow I mentioned that I wasn’t a thong kind of guy. Somehow things remained awkward between us for the rest of the day.

The thong has no appeal to me. I’m a big fan of the well-defined bikini tan with a full bikini covering front and rear with enough fabric for four or five thongs. (Bikini top, underarm hair and being French were optional.) Since I grew up in the 1970’s with the Coppertone Girl appearing on numerous billboards and reading my father’s Playboy magazines from underneath the bathroom sink, the sexist media of my formative years may have influenced my tastes in young women’s behind.

You can guess what happened after my co-worker and I had that conversation.

She started wearing low-cut panties that covered her bare ass cheeks from side to side while revealing her plumber’s crack. Everyday she wore different panties. I don’t think I ever saw the same panties twice. That went on for another year. After we were both lay off from that particular job, I never had to worry about thongs and panties ever again. Sexual harassment and political correctness seminars eliminated such flirtatious behavior in the corporate work environment.

I always wondered what her motives were for flashing her underwear at me. I doubted she wanted a quick fling in the office supply closet. Maybe I was a special challenge because I didn’t respond to her flirting like the other guys did, and acted like a professional by ignoring her outrageous behavior. Although I could have taken advantage of her (and she might have let me), I didn’t want to have that kind of trouble at work. If she had a well-defined bikini tan, things might have been different.

How NOT To Get A Job At Google

googleThomas L. Friedman recently wrote a fluff piece in The New York Times called, “How To Get A Job At Google,” paraphrasing an interview from last year with Laszlo Bock, Goggle’s senior vice president on human operations. The takeaway point is that your G.P.A. doesn’t matter (never mind that Google recruiters still ask for it), it’s what you know and how you use it. In short, a college degree alone won’t get you far as a knowledge worker in the tech industry. Despite the article title, he doesn’t actually explain HOW to get a job at Google.

Google, like most Fortune 500 corporations, hires only engineers and managers as direct employees. Any position that doesn’t involve sensitive business operations gets outsourced to other companies—also known as vendors—to provide support services (i.e., custodians, desktop, help desk, inventory, landscaping, package delivery, technicians, etc.). These services get written off as routine business expenses, permitting the corporation to reduce the number of direct employees who are eligible for bonuses, stock options and other compensation.

If you ever wanted to work your way up from the mailroom to CEO like the poor schmuck did in “How to Succeed in Business Without Trying,” forget about it. You would have to work through three or four vendors before reaching the corporate ladder. The days of corporations employing everyone from top to bottom and cradle to grave are long gone.

If you’re looking for a job as an engineer or manager, you need to submit your resume directly to Google and go through the process of proving your worth. Things can get crazy if you get past the initial phone interview. I’ve read somewhere that the average direct hire goes through 24 interviews over the course of a year before the final decision gets made. If you don’t have infinite amount of patience and persistence, you won’t get hired.

If you really want to get a job at Google without going through the rubber chicken circuit, get hired through a vendor. The job search websites have numerous listings for positions in Mountain View. Most are for Google, but some are for LinkedIn and a few other companies that are surrounded by Google buildings. Some listings will explicitly state that the position is for Google, others will mention “world leading search engine” or something similar.

The hiring process is much simpler, usually a phone screening and/or face-to-face interview. After you get hired, you report to the security office at Building 43 to get your badge and go to whatever building the vendor is working at. You may or may not need to go through the orientation process. I did that when I worked for help desk, but not when I worked at one of the data centers. But be careful about the free food at cafeterias, as the average Googler will gain 26 pounds.

Working for a vendor is really no different from working for any other company. The only complication may come from dealing with recruiters who are not familiar with the vendor system, especially if you worked for a vendor to the vendor. My resume has several jobs like that (i.e., hired by secondary vendor to work for primary vendor at a Fortune 500 corporation). Explaining this to some recruiters requires an infinite amount of patience and persistence.

Goodbye, Old HP Campus / Hello, New Apple Campus

Photo by Ron Cervi
Photo by Ron Cervi

An aerial photo of the old Hewlett-Packard (HP) campus at Wolfe Road and Homestead Road in Cupertino shows that it is no more after being demolished and scraped off the earth to make way for the new Apple campus. I don’t know if this was the same campus that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak worked at from 1973 to 1977, designing HP calculators during the day and the Apple I computer at night. If so, besides being the largest parcel of land available in Cupertino, this could be why Apple co-founder Steve Jobs chose this location.

I never worked for HP, but I did have a job interview there in March 2011 (made memorable by a shooting near my apartment). The HP campus was a ghost town after being purchased by Apple in 2010. The surrounding parking lots were vacant at mid-day. The 1970’s interiors had gone to seed many years before: multiple shades of brown, worn carpets and bad lighting. A very depressing environment for the few people still worked there. As desperate as I was for a job back then, I’m glad someone else got that desktop support job.

When my friend and I recently drove over to Vallco Shopping Mall to see a movie at the AMC Cupertino 16, we noticed a new sign in the parking garage that Vallco was now a Westfield shopping mall. A curious development. Vallco had a string of owners in the last two decades who didn’t know what to do with the empty shopping center. I found no mention on the Internet as to why Westfield would own another shopping mall a few miles down the street from their more successful Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose.

The one thing that Westfield does extremely well is revitalizing old malls. With two-thirds of the mall vacant and blocked off from foot traffic, and limited parking space surrounding the outside of the mall, Westfield can’t double the size of the mall by building a parallel wing as it did with Valley Fair Mall and Oakridge Mall. With Apple’s new campus down the street, and a mixed development building with small stores on the ground floor and apartments on top being built across the street, the right selection of stores could draw in future foot traffic.

The Macintosh Came Out 30 Years Ago

Byte Magazine MacIntoshUnlike the first-generation iPhone in 2007, I wasn’t there for the introduction of the first-generation Macintosh in 1984. I was in the eighth grade at John Steinbeck Middle School in San Jose. According to the girls at school, I came from a “poor” family because my parents couldn’t afford cable TV to get MTV. We were too poor to own an Apple II. My parents gave me a Commodore VIC-20 for the Christmas the year before. When I informed my teacher that I got a computer, I got laughed out of the Apple II programming class in the seventh grade because he called the VIC-20 a toy (which it was).

A real computer, I learned, requires big bucks.

As my interests in computer programming and electronics developed in 1984, I read everything I could get my hands on. Byte Magazine was my primary source of information, where I first read about the Macintosh. The two most influential books I read that summer was a technical book on the Motorola 68000 processor that the Macintosh used, and “Hackers: Heroes of The Computer Revolution” by Steven Levy. I felt frustrated because I didn’t have a real computer to do anything with and the computer revolution was marching on without me. Never mind that I was only 15-years-old at the time.

I got a Commodore 64 for Christmas that year. Although a toy compared to the Apple II and Macintosh, this Commodore 64 was the first of three I would use for word processing, programming and video games over the next ten years. The Commodore 64 got me through the four bad years when I stayed home from high school and four good years at San Jose City College when I got my associate degree in general education.

The first Macintosh computer I used was a Macintosh Classic II at the SJCC library. English literature instructors demanded that all papers be turned in as either typewritten or laser-printed. The near letter quality (NLQ) setting on my dot matrix printer was barely tolerated. I would print out papers at home, re-type the papers into the Macintosh at the library, saved the file to a 3.5″ floppy, walked over to the checkout counter, insert the floppy into the Macintosh connected to the laser printer, and printed out the pages at ten cents a page.

As I worked in Silicon Valley, my experience with the Macintosh was touch-and-go in the Windows-centric corporate environment. Every time a co-worker taught me how to do something new on the Macintosh, I would get laid off from work two weeks later. Recruiters always teased me about Apple jobs but never submitted my resume because my work experience was—and still is—predominately Windows.

After I started earning the big bucks, I got a Mac mini in 2005 and a black MacBook in 2006. I later gave the mini to a friend who needed a Mac more than I needed an extra system. I’m still using the MacBook eight years later. Although suitable for word processing and web browsing, it’s no longer suitable for compiling programs in the background. I’ll be getting a replacement system later this year to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh.

Has Koch Brothers Infiltrated The Huffington Post?

Commenting On Huffington Post ArticleAs a long-time political junkie since I watched Richard Nixon resigned the presidency on live TV in 1974 as a toddler, I subscribed to a number of political emails. A few days ago I received an email that the Sierra Club was endorsing Congressman Mike Honda for his 2014 re-election bid in the California 17th congressional district. That’s odd, I thought. Congressman Honda has a safe seat. Since the California GOP has more in common with the spotted owl than one-sixth of the U.S. population, they’re not mounting a challenger.

I later read on the Huffington Post about the Sierra Club endorsement. Congressman Honda has a Democratic primary challenger, Ro Khanna. Now that’s really odd. Democrats don’t challenge veteran incumbents unless their districts get merged or a scandal blows up. Neither has happened to Congressman Honda. Although some people think the Democrats need a tea party to push it further to the left (oh hell no, we need more moderates than extremists in politics), I don’t think that’s what happening here.

Khanna has a more pro-business agenda than the progressive agenda that California Democrats support, raising more money than Congressman Honda from the top CEOs and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. If Khanna ran as a Republican, this would make sense. Being a Democratic challenger is something of a head scratcher.

If you look at the political leanings of the CEOs supporting Khanna, you might think that the Koch brothers—the billionaires behind the tea party—might be trying to undermine the Democrat Party from within. The Republican Party had run fake Democratic primary challengers in California and across the country to confuse the voters. With President Barack Obama enacting much of the Republican agenda over the fierce objections of extremists on the left and the right, the Republicans can no longer run on ideas and must resort to electoral trickery to stay in power.

Which is why I’m a Democrat again.

As for the Huffington Post article, I tried to leave a comment that this particular House race was a head scratcher and maybe the Democratic challenger had indirect support by the Koch brothers. The comment got deleted before being posted. I tried again, deleted again. As a computer programmer, I recognized that an automatic word filter didn’t like what I wrote. No moderator can humanely delete my post the moment I submitted it.

I changed “Koch brothers” to “K-o-c-h b-r-o-t-h-e-r-s” in the comment, where it appeared for a few hours before a moderator manually deleted it. Tried a few variations, same result. If I toss in “brown shirts” and “jackboots” (an indirect reference to far right extremism in the 1930’s), those comments were automatically deleted. I’ve seen other people use “Koch brothers” in their comments, but for some reason it was taboo on this particular post.

This begs the question: Has the Koch brothers infiltrated the Huffington Post?

Probably not. While the Huffington Post is a liberal bastion for news, it’s also a corporate entity with close ties to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. God forbid if any unwashed commentator links the uber-rich Silicon Valley CEOs to the political underbelly of the tea party movement. Especially on a post that no one else is reading.

Please No Talking At The Urinal

iStock_000001699103SmallOne of my pet peeves at work is standing at the urinal in the men restroom when somebody comes up to the urinal next to me, unzips his pants and strikes up a conversation. Not the manly grunts to acknowledge the other person existence, but the “Whazzup!” conversational opener. I cannot talk and pee at the same time, a level of multitasking has always eluded me. Talking at the urinal means I need to stop peeing, think about what I need to say, say my piece and resume peeing again. Talking shop is the last thing I want to do at the urinal.

As a child prodigy tragically misdiagnosed as being mentally retarded (whenever I blew the evaluation exam on the genius side the teacher called it a “statistical fluke” every time), the boys restroom was a dangerous area for a fat white boy like myself in the Special Ed class. If someone turns off the lights, the student next to me always turned sideways to spray me with piss. An accident they told the teacher. Yeah, right. Because I rode the little yellow school bus, my mother didn’t drive and my father worked in San Francisco, I had to sit in piss-soaked pants for the rest of the class day and the two-hour bus ride home. My classmates would taunt me that I needed to wear diapers. I’m surprised that I never developed homicidal tendencies towards my classmates.

When I worked as a lead tester at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crises), we had more testers than the men restroom could accommodate. The custodians had to clean and stock the restroom three times a day to keep up. Someone always “forgot” to flush one of the toilets in the stalls. If you “read” the toilet bowl like tea leaves in a cup, you can figure out what they had for lunch at Taco Bell. The splatter pattern was different each day, as if someone tossed in a cherry bomb for good measure. I wrote up a proposal for management to install Porta-Potties out in the parking lot. The mad bomber of the restroom eventually left the company.

I did a six-week contract at Sony in 2005 to test what later become the Sony eReader. With no possibility of an extension, I looked for a new job while working on this one. I was standing at the urinal when a woman recruiter at Microsoft called my cellphone, answered the call and stepped away as I zipped up my pants. The urinal, of course, had an automatic flush. She asked if this was a good time to talk. I reassured it was, although my voice echoed in the restroom, Indian coworkers gave me strange looks, and toilet seats got plopped down for business. I conducted many interviews there since I couldn’t find a more private spot elsewhere.

My boss recently asked me for a status report while at the urinal. I had a catastrophic brain freeze. A status report meant collecting data, analyzing it and offering an interpretation relative to yesterday’s status report. That wasn’t a yes/no or one-sentence answer. I hemmed and hawed in answering, both verbally and peeing. As we were washing our hands (separately, of course), I stammered out that I would send him an email and ran out of the restroom. I was fortunate that I didn’t piss my pants.

A Gentleman’s Club Comes To Downtown San Jose

Gold Club San JoseA gentleman’s club, The Gold Club, has recently opened in downtown San Jose, surprising some people because an announcement wasn’t made until last month. As nudity isn’t allowed, all the female employees will be wearing bikinis. Not surprisingly, the councilman who represents the district that the club sits in and other civic leaders are complaining about the inappropriateness that a bikini bar represents for a vibrant downtown. After visiting the Voodoo Lounge in Las Vegas for a Star Trek convention party, I doubt this club will matter much.

The biggest complaint about the downtown clubbing scene is that it doesn’t exist. If you want to go clubbing, you need to go to San Francisco or Los Angeles. Most clubs come and go so fast in San Jose that none ever found a steady clientele. If the police gets called in to break up a fight or two (the bouncers are almost always moonlighting cops), the club closes down faster than they can open. After a name change and/or a change of ownership, the club re-opens a month later and the cycle repeats itself.

As for the female staff members in bikinis, I suspect most of them will be skinny little things. While visiting Las Vegas, I noticed that the skinny little things wore bikinis on the strip or danced in skimpy outfits on the mini stages in the casinos, and women with hips were more clothing to sell cigarette or run the keno sheets. Skinniness versus hippieness is the dividing line for these types of establishments.

One time my friend and I went to Hooters in Campbell for dinner. All the waitresses were the skinny little things that I paid no attention, probably because they are 20+ years my junior and I prefer women with actual hips. Our waitress in the skimpy Hooters outfit for that evening looked like she was 16-years-old and wore braces, a combination that screamed jailbait like nothing else. We gave her a big tip for trying so hard at being sociable with us as we were disconcerted by her appearance.

Does San Jose need a red light district to stay competitive with the other big cities?

No, it doesn’t. I remembered downtown San Jose back in the 1980’s, where the prostitutes openly plied their trade and trash covered the streets. When the brand new convention center opened in 1989, my father and I caught the bus to downtown to attend the free car show. Downtown became a redevelopment zone that sent the prostitutes packing and construction dust covered the streets. After years of constructing new buildings and renovating old buildings, people are returning to downtown to live and work there.

But I doubt that a bikini bar will bring a wave of prostitution and crime to downtown as the critics claim. After the police clean up a fight or two inside, the club will have a different name and theme in a few months. Maybe the Chippendales will come to downtown.