Friday, May 1, 2009

Tom Jordan: An environmental perspective

CGF Board Member and former CGF President Tom Jordan gets a wonderful and well-deserved retrospective of his environmental career at the Palo Alto Weekly:

With his law office in San Jose, Jordan became chairman of the San Jose
Goals Committee, a quest to make the rapidly developing City of San Jose a more
attractive place. "Our No. 1 recommendation was to hire a professional planning
director for the city," Jordan recalled. At the time, the city's public works
director, who was in charge of roads and sewers, also handled city

"San Jose was growing rapidly, absolutely everywhere," Jordan said. "You'd
drive down to the south or east and go through 300 yards of orchard -- and then
there'd be a housing development."It's not so much that it was bad; it was just
completely unplanned."

The city hired its first professional planner. "He did quite a bit to make
San Jose look better than it would have without him," Jordan said.

Later in the 1960s Jordan joined the board -- and became president -- of
the Committee for Green Foothills, a nonprofit organization protecting local
open space, which counted acclaimed novelist Wallace Stegner its first president
in 1962.

It was because of the Committee for Green Foothills' "squeaky clean" reputation, Jordan thinks, that he was asked to head up the "residentialist" forces in an epic Palo Alto political battle in 1967, when a pro-development group attempted to recall the entire Palo Alto City Council.

As they say, read the whole thing. And congratulations, Tom!


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