Alviso. An unexpected pearl at the bitter end of the bay. It was once the Port of Entry into San Jose, crowded with steamboats and stagecoachs. It is a spectacularly unaffected town, a last refuge from encroaching San Jose. But it's going fast. The markateers have landed, and the loot is being spread.
Alviso became a part of San Jose in 1968. Many sources say it was annexed. The Alisoans I talked to, including former mayor Tom Laine, are adamant that it was consolidated, and they are correct. It was an arrangement intended to be mutually beneficial. San Jose was to get the land it needed to treat sewage and dump garbage, and Alviso was to accrue the benefits of San Jose's services - police, street maintenance, etcetera. So much for the best laid plans.
Like the proverbial red-headed step-child, Alviso got the short end of the stick. Services have not been forthcoming. It took 12 years just to get the streets paved. On March 24, 1973, Alvisoans set up a toll booth on the Gold Street Bridge in a publicity stunt to get corrupt San Jose politicians to take notice - cars were charged .25 cents to pass.
Decades of land subsidence caused Alviso to sink fifteen feet. Levees are now required to keep the bay out. The town has been called "Little Venice." Lowering of the water table occurred on account of the gluttonous use of well water by surrounding communities.
The town was recently showcased in the August
20 edition of the Metro.
Jan 2002: $700,000 homes
Alviso has buckets of mystery and charm. The geography is ethereal. God protect it from San Joseans who would turn it into an unholy blend of Sunnyvale business and Willow Glen sissified downtown.
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