Friday, September 18, 2015

Silicon Valley: We Are Crushing Ourselves - or - Goodbye Fiesta del Mar

We're creating a mess that will haunt us for years. I don't know the solution, but I do know what I'm seeing and hearing are not okay.

Fiesta del Mar has been running in their Shoreline location for 24 years.  I first went there back in 1995 myself, when visiting the south bay.  I moved to Sunnyvale in 1996, and by 1999 I was in Mountain View - walking distance to Fiesta del Mar. I've moved several times since then - but every time I rented and even when I bought my house, I had the requirement of "I still have to be able to walk to Fiesta del Mar".

They are a successful family run business that serves amazing shrimp dishes and outstanding Mexican fare with the best margaritas in the Bay Area - all with a smile.  Everyone there knows my name, my favorite margaritas (La Yarona), and that they cannot possibly give me enough of their amazing salsas.  They are always packed, yet always quick with your food.

And they are closing on September 26, 2015

Huh?

They've lost their lease. Last I heard the new land owner was going to build an office building with a Panda Express and another Starbuck's.

We are losing a successful family business for a Panda Express (or some yet to be determined chain restaurant).

The manager of Fiesta del Mar is going to try to move as much of his staff as he can to the family's other restaurants in Mountain View - Fiesta del Mar II and Agave.  That's great of the family to do that, but it won't be the same.  Each of those establishments makes their salsa and sauces just a bit differently, the interiors are very different, and they are in the difficult to find parking downtown area. Yes, I walk - but my friends drive to Fiesta del Mar from all over the Bay Area.

La Costena, a burrito themed taqueria, lost their Mountain View Rengstorff location a couple of years back. I used to go there for an amazing burrito.  They were lucky and found another place on Middlefield - but in a completely different neighborhood.

DeeDee's Indian Buffet and Grocery lost their location a few years back, so an apartment building could be built - and never could find a suitable alternative location in Mountain View. So, guess how many Indian grocery stores Mountain View has now? Zero.

I've seen neighbors posting on NextDoor complaining about the sudden rise in RVs, buses, vans and cars on the street with people obviously living in them.  After Mountain View closed their last RV park...is this so shocking?  I used to live in the Forest Glenn town homes, and read in the paper that the landlord is evicting everyone to remodel, and raise the rents. I knew families that had lived there for 10 years or more. Where will they go?

Walking to the transit center the other day before 8AM, to take my companies corporate shuttle to work - I saw a man washing his hair and face in a water fountain in the park. He had a tube of toothpaste and toothbrush in his back pocket. He was dressed nicely, clearly getting ready for work - and clearly living somewhere without running water.

Houses in my neighborhood are being purchased by "investors" and left empty, or in one case turned into a Youth Hostel with bunk beds!  Families are losing their home for "investments".  One "gentleman" bragged on our neighborhood alias about how he will outbid any offer you get on your house, as he's collecting houses in our neighborhood so he can remake them in his "vision" - he already owns 5.

And just over the last two weeks, I've read with horror about the police arresting transients for stealing clothing! CLOTHING!  One man stole a shirt from Walgreen's, and was booked in the San Jose jail. Another stole a pair of shoes from Walmart (he did become violent when confronted) and again taken to jail.

Is there not a better place to take poor people who are homeless and desperate for clothing and shoes?

We are clearly not meeting our communities needs and we're in crisis.

I've loved Mountain View for their diverse cultures, nonchain restaurants and focus on community.

Can we get this back? How can we better serve those who do not have Silicon Valley paying jobs? Is there a place for us all?