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CAIR (Community Action in Robertsville)

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Saturday, July 8th, 2000 @ 10:38 PM
Subj: CAIR update and wrap-up - some closing thoughts
From: (Jim and Kris Chase)

CAIR friends and family,

As most of you know from the email I published a few weeks ago, I resigned my position of CAIR president effective last weekend. Due to my family's decision to relocate to another area of San Jose, I felt it was no longer appropriate for me to continue in the organization. At that time I committed to you to continue to head the legal challenge against SJUSD on the Broadway/Muir co-location and to assist the remaining members of CAIR's leadership to coordinate an election of new officers. I would like to update you on both of these activities.

First, I am sorry to inform you that we were unsuccessful in our legal challenge. The hearing took place on June 20, and on Friday June 23 I was notified that the judge had sided with SJUSD. I prefer not to go into any details or to express my personal opinion on this decision other than to say my opinion regarding the order of events leading to the district's decision to relocate Broadway into our neighborhood is unchanged. As in all things, upholding your rights does not always mean your rights will be upheld. The CAIR officers, after consultation with our counsel, have decided not to pursue the case any further.

We believe our point has been made, and although we did not get everything we wanted, I truly believe we are better off than if we had not made ourselves heard. The new baseball field looks nice, and the district has improved some of their policies in dealing with other communities they serve. I am copying Superintendent Murray and our School Board Representative, Veronica Lewis, on this email. I want each of them to know that Robertsville is a wonderful community and its citizens will continue to work to make it the best place possible. It is my personal hope that this can be accomplished with the full support of a proactive and supportive public school district.

As for CAIR, the officers have had several discussions about the direction the organization should take. Many strong, enduring relationships have been formed throughout the last year and a solid communications network is in place. That said, the officers feel that although there are still open issues that need to be addressed, the urgency is relatively low. Furthermore, although a strong network of supporting members continues to meet and discuss possible activities, there is a lack of interested volunteers ready to commit the time, energy, and money required to run the organization on an ongoing basis. For this reason, the CAIR officers have decided to discontinue regular meetings and the organization is now in an inactive status.

Our P.O. Box has been discontinued, and the web site will be disabled on Monday. The officers will retain the membership information and email lists, and the group can be reconvened on short notice should a critical issue arise. Our ability to "spread the word" was clearly on of the strengths of the group; I am certain that the community of Robertsville will rise to the challenge again if needed.

As for me, I am enjoying the challenges of my new home (still lots of boxes and a huge lot that is totally undeveloped) and recovering some of the "free time" I have dedicated to CAIR over the last year. As I said in my last email, it was a tremendous experience and I am thankful to have met so many wonderful people. It was a privilege and a pleasure serving you and standing by your side.

Please send me an email and keep in touch. If I hear of any news affecting Robertsville, be assured I will let you all know.

All the best,

Jim Chase

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim and Kris Chase []
Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2000 11:30 PM
Subject: Important Announcement
Importance: High

Dear CAIR members and interested friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to you this evening to announce my resignation from CAIR. After a lot of deliberation, my wife and I have decided to move into a larger home. Fortunately, we have survived the frenetic real estate crunch and purchased a wonderful home in another area of San Jose. We have, for some time now, considered the need for a larger property removed from high traffic flow. Through good fortune and great help from our realtor, we have found our dream home and are very excited at the opportunity this transition presents.

That said, as President of our organization I have some misgivings about the timing of this move. Over the last 11 months we have started something truly wonderful with CAIR. Our community, previously uninvolved and invisible, rallied around a cause with passion and purpose. The over 500 members of our group stood together to challenge injustice and in the process we learned about our various interests, conflicting ideals, and common vision for a better Robertsville.

This experience has been an emotional roller coaster from the onset. Although the cold reality at the corner of Branham and Speak suggests CAIR failed to achieve its goal, no challenge of this type is ever fully won or fully lost. We have some amazing successes to be proud of: The size of Broadway is 2/3 the original plan size, but has more parking than originally planned. The new baseball field is a modern, state of the art facility that our children will be able to enjoy. The district has heard our arguments for the need for high tech programs like robotics at our neighborhood middle school, and has funded programs on an even broader scale throughout the district.

There are even more important victories to savor. We raised over $40,000 to fund our legal challenge to the site selection process for the Broadway/Muir co-location - a challenge which should culminate in a hearing this June to resolve our outstanding lawsuit against the district. To our delight, the district has learned the importance of engaging communities on changes affecting them - as evidenced by the meeting SJUSD held this evening, titled "Community Meeting - Northside/St James/Julian Neighborhoods - Presentation & Discussion of Proposed Move of Empire Gardens Elementary School to Site on Grounds of San Jose High Academy". Finally, and most importantly, we have reached out to 5000 households to let them know they are not alone and subject to bureaucratic edict, but that they have a voice which can be amplified by joining together as a community.

We should all take pride in these important milestones, but I am reticent because I know there is much more to do. For CAIR to continue to grow, it needs strong leadership, broad participation, and wide ranging scope. We have barely touched on the many issues that affect our community: land use, government representation, community forums, working with neighboring community groups, charity efforts, etc. The Broadway issue was just the catalyst to ignite our passion. As our lawsuit works its way through the courts over the next few months, I hope that CAIR continues to find new areas to work on that sustain the passion, grow the participation, and widen the impact of the group.

I have met with the other CAIR officers and many of the steering committee members to tell them of my intention to resign effective June 30. My sense is that, although they were surprised by my announcement and expressed their disappointment in my departure, they remain committed to making our community the best it can be. For that reason alone I am hopeful that CAIR will continue to exist.

Our Vice President, Linda Gregory, has asked me solicit your participation in the group. She has proposed a new election of officers and steering committee members to carry the torch after my departure. I am happy to make the request. Your officers have worked hard this past year, and the steering committee has done a tremendous job in raising money and awareness throughout the community. We all agree it is time for new blood and fresh ideas to infuse the organization so that it can reach its full potential. Please contact Linda ( or me if you believe that CAIR is something worthwhile enough for you to dedicate your time and energy too. I can honestly tell you it is one of the more rewarding activities I have ever been a part of.

As for me and my family, our focus is now directed on selling our home, our upcoming move, and all the transition issues that come with such a major life changing event. As I said, I am excited about the new opportunities this change will bring. It's a small valley, and my personal fire for community service still burns. I an confident we will see each other again.

I will continue to be active in the Broadway lawsuit and assist Linda during the transition period, and I wish only the best for the many friends and acquaintances I have come to know through the formation of CAIR. I know that any good organization is strong enough to outlast any one of its members. I am confident CAIR has the foundation in place to meet that requirement. I leave its future in good hands - those of each of you who read this message.

As always, still CAIRing for the Robertsville community.

Warmest regards,

Jim Chase
Founder and President
Community Action In Robertsville

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