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1 Nov 2023
Citizens United has Destroyed America: Why Is Nobody Talking About It?
If America is to recover any semblance of meaningful democracy in our country, we must cut out the cancer of big money in our political system by overturning Citizens United….

Thom Hartmann provides a scathing review of the Citizens United decision by 5 right-wing, corporate Supreme Court justices.
  • The simple and tragic answer to all these questions comes back to a single root cause: money in politics. Or, to be more specific, Republicans on the Supreme Court having legalized political bribery (and, thus, functional ownership) of judges and legislators, both federal and state.
  • In other words, for morbidly rich people to have “free speech,” they must be able to spend as much money on politicking as they want. If you don’t have millions or billions, your free speech is pretty much limited to how loud you can yell: this was a decision almost entirely of, by, and for the morbidly rich.
  • Prior to the Court’s Citizens United decision, for example, there was a bipartisan consensus in Congress that climate change was caused by burning fossil fuels and that we should do something about it, as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse so eloquently documents.
  • At the core of Congress’ dysfunction are a handful of rightwing billionaires who don’t think our government should offer any sort of help to people in need, particularly if it’s paid for with their taxes. Because of the power Citizens United gave them, they keep Republican politicians so terrified of billionaire revenge — and dependent on billionaire largess — that they’re willing to repeatedly humiliate themselves before the nation and the world on live television.
Here is a link to the audio version.

21 Oct 2023
Editorial: VTA’s San Jose BART extension costs surging out of control
Demand independent review. Latest $12.2 billion price tag can’t be trusted after years of deceit and denial.

The San Jose Mercury-News editorial provides a scathing review of the BART project. Here are excerpts:
  • In just three years, the cost estimate for the six-mile, four-station, mostly underground extension has more than doubled, and the completion date has been kicked back a decade from 2026 to 2036.
  • It’s time for a fresh look at the project and alternatives that might provide mass transit or other environmentally friendly commuter options more cost-effectively.
  • Federal, state and county taxpayers all have a financial stake in this project. Elected leaders at each level should demand a truly independent review, as should the local leaders who sit on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which oversees the project.
  • At the same time, VTA financial projections should be scrutinized. Not just because the numbers keep changing but also because of VTA’s history of deceit that calls into question whether the agency can now be trusted.
  • It’s that sort of public flip-flopping and lack of transparency, combined with the past disingenuous denials about increases, that raise questions about the credibility of the authority’s forecasts and analyses.
  • There are simply too many unanswered questions about the viability of the project and the accuracy and reliability of the authority’s numbers and analysis. As we said in editorials in 2021 and 2022, the San Jose BART extension should be subjected to a complete independent review. After the latest shocking cost increases, that analysis is needed more than ever.
An alternative using Personal Rapid Technology (PRT) was proposed in March of 2015 in this blog. An even more expansive transit solution has been proposed by LoopWorks in paper entitled "$12.2B for 4 BART stations? Or ... $7B for 800 PRT stations?".

24 June 2023
ex-City Manager Steve McHarris files Claim for Damages

Although you can read the details at the above link, here are 2 articles outlining the claims:
Ousted Milpitas city manager files claim against city
Former City Manager files claim against City of Milpitas, alleging hostile work environment

As one who has suggested in the past that former Mayor Tran might be the perp behind the firing of McHarris, I found both articles support that explanation. "Key to the complaint is a repeated assertion that former Mayor Rich Tran told City Council/Mayoral candidates that if they wanted him to endorse them in the 2022 election, they would need to remove Steve McHarris from his job as a first order of business if elected. McHarris claims that both Mayor Montano and Councilmember Garry Barbadillo, who were both heavily endorsed by Tran during election season, were subject to this arrangement. "

If true, then apparently Tran bribed Montano and Barbadillo with his electoral support in exchange for ousting McHarris. Here is the definition of bribery:
The act or practice of giving or taking a bribe, or of influencing or being influenced by a bribe or bribes; especially, the act of paying or receiving, or of agreeing to pay or receive, a reward other than legal compensation for the exercise of official or delegated power irrespective of the dictates of duty, or for a false judgment or testimony, or for the performance of that which is known to be illegal or unjust.

28 Feb 2023
Something missing from Senate/Assembly Joint Transportation Committee hearing

Subject: something missing from yesterday's Senate/Assembly Joint Transportation Committee hearing
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2023 10:02:17 -0800
From: Rob Means


In reading the Background Paper and listening to yesterday's meeting with 10 expert witnesses, no mention was made of advanced transit technologies like Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). I am contacting you to prevent that oversite from being repeated in the future.

Candidate Aisha Wahab declared her support for the Milpitas PRT demonstration project. As a Senate Transportation Committee member, she is in a position to educate the experts -- or at least ask uncomfortable questions.

The Background Paper contained this summary statement:

... the price of public transport comes well after reliability, punctuality, frequency, comfort, security and geographical coverage, in terms of priority criteria.

PRT excels in each area! At first glance, an elevated network of guideways may seem expensive. But expensive compared to what? The BART Burrow will provide 4 stations for $9B. Spending just $7B on PRT will cover a 100 square-mile area with 800 stations running 24/7.

In our search for funding, we have found that state monies allocated for Climate solutions are not available to LoopWorks, either because of the unusual technology or our corporate structure (non-profit mutual benefit). After doing more research, I expect to return to you asking for appropriate legislation. In the meantime, please acknowledge this email.

While answers to nearly all your questions are on our website, I would be happy to save your time by guiding you to them.
Rob Means, LoopWorks Secretary
408-262-0420 home, 408-262-8975 v-mail
1421 Yellowstone Ave, Milpitas, CA 95035 Transit for all of us!

14 Oct 2021
Wall Street's Barons are Causing Homelessness: Can We Stop Them?
Thus begins Thom Hartmann's article that included this:

So how did we get here?

It started with a wave of foreign buyers over the past 30 years (particularly from China, Canada, Mexico, India and Colombia) who, just last year, picked up over 154,000 homes as their way of parking money in America. ... But foreign investment has been down for the past few years; what’s taken over and is really driving home prices today are massive, multi-billion-dollar funds that sweep into neighborhoods and buy everything available, bidding against families and driving up housing prices.

In this 42-minute audio segment, talk-show host Thom Hartmann talks about financial goliaths stripping neighborhoods of homes families can buy, and then raising rents as high as the market will bear - causing homelessness. (excerpted from 2021Oct14 Hour 1 Thom Hartmann Program)

23 Apr 2021
Break-down of Biden’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions
The policy pathways to cut US carbon emissions in half by 2030. Energy Innovation's models show that technologies and policies can cost-effectively meet President Biden’s carbon-cutting commitments. The politics are another matter.

12 Apr 2021
Less than masterful Master Plan?

“The Milpitas Trail, Pedestrian, and Bicycle Master Plan provides a vision and action plan for the City to create a complete and connected network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.” However, based upon my 40+ years living in Milpitas, 25 years cycling in Milpitas, and 10 years on the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Commission, I see 3 major barrier-crossing omissions in this plan. Here is my letter to staff.

5 Dec 2019
Finding Contact Information Online
On various occasions, I have needed to verify MTA Petitioners' contact information before entry into their database. Here is the procedure I created of how I do that.

4 July 2019
National Service and Rite of Passage
In this 5-minute audio, talk-show host Thom Hartmann talks about transitions to adulthood in the context of a national service program. (excerpted from 2019Jul2 Hour 1 Thom Hartmann Program)

5 June 2018
How to Change Your Mind (what the new science of psychedelics is teaching us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression and transcendence)
In this 11-minute audio, author Michael Pollan talks about the benefits of psychedelics when used in a controlled therapeutic or spiritual setting. (excerpted from 2018Jun1 Hour 2 Thom Hartmann Program)

5 June 2018
Universal Basic Income vs. guaranteed jobs
In this 12-minute audio, the benefits of a guaranteed jobs program are outlined. (excerpted from 2018May17 Hour 2 Thom Hartmann Program)

5 June 2018
What to do about racial disparity
In this 2-minute audio a caller notes 3 things that will help reduce racial disparity in our country and communities. (excerpted from 2018Apr16 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program)

17 May 2018
5 June 2018
Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment
In this 12-minute audio, Thom interviews the author about his assertion that Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. (excerpted from 2018May8 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program) high-tech tool to support your meditation
In this 12-minute audio, Thom talks about using biofeedback to improve meditation and life outcomes. (excerpted from 2018May22 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program)

7 May 2018
Persky Recall

Dear Friends,

I am not usually very political and I am sorry to intrude on you with this email. But I feel strongly about this topic. I am against the recall of Judge Aaron Persky. Before I copy the official list of reasons why, let me tell you something personal:

Judge Persky and I were in the DA's office together many years ago, when we were both prosecutors for Santa Clara County. I know him personally from that job, although we are not social friends. He is not allowed to say much substantively in his defense, so I feel compelled to speak out. Aaron is one of the most thoughtful, intellectual, mild-mannered, respectful people I know. The recall campaign is painting him to be almost a monster - making him seem like an elitist good ole boy who isn't that concerned about sexual assault. That is absolutely inaccurate.

Aaron is not elitist and he is not a good ole boy. He is, of course, against sexual assault. It can be said he is a judge who favors rehabilitation over punishment. In his sentencing of Brock Turner he had two choices: a prison sentence (I believe 2,3,or 6 years in State prison) or what is called a local jail sentence (less than 12 months in County jail). In my years at the DA's office I can tell you - the facts of this case would never have supported a State prison sentence in the past. Not because the defendant was a white Stanford student, but because he had no criminal past and was likely to rehabilitate and not be a continuing danger to society, not be a repeat offender or 'recidivist.'

Judges tend to follow the probation office's recommendation, and that is what Judge Persky did here - he followed the sentencing recommendation of the office that did all the post trial victim and witness interviews, researched sentences for similar cases and came up with a proposed sentence.

A lot of people think that the defendant raped the victim. Actually he didn't - there was no intercourse. He penetrated her with his finger while she was unconscious. He says she was conscious when they began sexual activity and there is no evidence to counter that. But certainly at some point she became unconscious, and he continued to finger her. He was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail. But he also is now a lifetime sex offender. He will have to register with the police every year on his birthday and within 5 days of moving anywhere - even going on vacation for a week. This means that if he is a 45 year old man and takes his wife and ten year old child to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon - he'll have to first go to the local police station and register with them as a sex offender. So rest assured - he will never be able to forget his crime or pretend it didn't happen. He didn't get off scot free, like the recall campaign wants you to think.

In my experience as a prosecutor in this county I can tell you that Judges factor in whether the sentence includes lifetime sex offender registration requirement when they are deciding a jail term. I truly believe that this defendant would never have been sentenced to State prison by any judge at the time of this trial.

Now the law has been changed and judges don't have that discretion anymore to sentence to County jail. But when you look at whether Judge Persky should be removed from his job for this sentence, I have to say that I don't think he should be. To me - you remove a judge for corruption or misconduct. Not because you don't like his sentence, especially since the sentence is lawful - even if you don't like it.

As a lawyer I am hearing stories of judges who are now making sentencing decisions based totally on whether they think the decision will be popular and not cause them to be the target of a recall campaign. This is a very bad thing. Judges should be free to consider the facts of the case and the circumstances both in aggravation and mitigation of the case. They should not be ruling because they are afraid of making people mad. If you were a defendant you would not want your judge feeling the pressure of making a decision that will be popular with people who were never in the courtroom during the trial, didn't hear the case, evaluate the evidence and witnesses. It is easy to get caught up on a tide of anger, hysteria based on snippets of information that we hear from media - social or news, or people trying to get us to sign a petition in a parking lot. But that isn't really appropriate to be judging cases from that position. And, if I were on trial, I wouldn't want my judge judging me for anything but the evidence before him - not what popular opinion is.

Here is the list of reasons that objectively do not support removing Judge Persky from his job forever:
  • California’s official judicial ethics commission investigated Judge Persky’s sentence in the Brock Turner case and rejected claims of bias, finding instead that he followed both the law and the Santa Clara County Probation Department’s recommendation.
  • Former Judge Ladoris Cordell: "Judicial recalls over a single judicial ruling threaten our independent judiciary and set a dangerous precedent. Recalls should be reserved for judges who have a pattern of bias or misconduct. Judge Persky has neither."
  • Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky: "Such recall efforts are a serious threat to judicial independence as judges will fear that unpopular rulings will cost them their jobs. Justice, and all of us, will suffer when judges base their decisions on what will satisfy the voters."
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association: "No credible and/or persuasive evidence establishes that Judge Persky has engaged in a pattern of egregious conduct of the type that would justify the extreme step of judicial recall."
  • Judge Aaron Persky: "California law requires every judge to consider rehabilitation and probation for first-time offenders. It's not always popular, but it's the law, and I took an oath to follow it without regard to public opinion or any personal opinions I might have as a former prosecutor."
Let's keep politics out of the courtroom. Please vote NO on the recall of Judge Aaron Persky. For more information about the anti-recall campaign, visit

Lynne Lampros

The Palo Alto Daily Post was the first newspaper to urge the recall of Judge Aaron Persky. Now they are saying vote NO on the recall.

16 March 2018
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)
In this 2-minute audio, Thom notes that only 7 democracies in the world have our primitive voting system. The fix, as shown by Australia and New Zealand, is RCV. (excerpted from 2018Mar14 Hour 2 Thom Hartmann Program)

16 March 2018
"Red Shift" and Exit Polls
This 2-minute audio describes what "Red Shift" is and why it matters to our democracy. (excerpted from 2018Feb14 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program)

16 March 2018
Psilocybin boosts love for nature and dislike for authoritarianism
This 3-minute Geeky Science Report outlines recent research results. "Psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, has been shown again and again to elicit changes in people’s demeanor and personality. A novel study comes to expand on the list of nice changes this substance can elicit in people, as its results suggest psilocybin can make people feel more connected to nature and less supportive of authoritarianism." Click to read the article.. (excerpted from 2018Feb5 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program)

16 March 2018
Antidote to Depression: Empowerment
This 10-minute audio outlines research results that show causes of depression, and relief through more social and economic security - whether co-operative businesses or a guaranteed annual income. Tom talks with Johann Hari about his book Lost Connections - The Science Behind Depression Exposed. (excerpted from 2018Jan23 Hour 2 Thom Hartmann Program)

15 March 2018
Why we need MTA's 28th Amendment
This 3-minute audio outlines how we got to needing a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution that says money is not speech and corporations are not people. (excerpted from 2018Jan23 Hour 2 Thom Hartmann Program)

9 February 2018
Driverless electric cars will dominate car sales in 10 years
This article outlines why driverless cars will dominate. Here's the article in a nutshell: "And this is what will kill oil: It will cost less to hail an autonomous electric vehicle than to drive the car that you already own."

His numbers look good to me, and his graphs of how rapidly disruptive technology spreads gives us an idea of the time-line: 5-10 years after autonomous cars hit the roads in 2021 "used car prices will crash as people give up their vehicles. New car sales for individuals will drop to nearly zero."

As a benchmark along the way, Waymo strikes a deal to buy ‘thousands’ more self-driving minivans from Fiat Chrysler. Waymo’s self-driving Pacifica minivans have been tested in 25 cities in the US (most of which are in California) and are currently on the road in five main cities: Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, Phoenix, and Kirkland, Washington. Last November, Waymo began test-driving its minivans on public roads in Phoenix without a driver at the wheel. And it has said that it will begin offering rides to members of its Early Rider program in its “fully driverless” minivans in the months ahead.

The problem for transportation planners is that driveless/autonomous cars without multiple riders will increase congestion due to latent demand (folks without a driver license) and dead-heading (driving around empty to fetch the next user). For most of the area in the South Bay, congestion is not a big problem; but it is in the Milpitas Transit Area. Thus, moving some of that area’s transportation demand into the third dimension where there is space for it (e.g. elevated PRT) will become even more necessary with the opening of BART, the rapidly increasing transit-area population, and soon-to-arrive driverless cars.

22 December 2017
Save the City $2M on Montague POC

From: Rob Means
To: Steve Chan
Cc: Garry Barbadillo , Marsha Grilli , Anthony Phan , Richard Tran , Robert Nuñez
Subject: quick analysis of my numbers
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2017 07:32:30 -0800


My interpretation of Council's direction last night is for you to take a look at my numbers to see if they are credible. If your understanding is different, please let me know.

What I'm recommending is a shuttle service across Montague Expressway. Existing PRT systems are generally shuttles rather than loops and networks, so the technology is already in service. However, amusement park technologies for moving people could also be employed at similar or lower costs.

My estimate of $15M/mile of one-way PRT includes stations and a moderate fleet of cabs. My estimate is drawn from 12 written estimates plus a few guestimates that are outlined at I draw your attention to the first chart which helps explain costs. Also, note the Santa Cruz estimate ( which was made recently by people nearby.

Since you have the 35% design in hand, you can easily verify my estimate of 200' to cross Montague Expressway. Double that for 2 one-way tracks, and then double again to allow for turnarounds and stations. That 800' of guideway is only 0.15 mile (800/5280). Based on the $15M/mile estimate, the anticipated cost of 0.15 mile of PRT is $2.25M.
  Lastly, since the anticipated cost to the City of Milpitas of the currently planned POC is $4.5M, by using shuttle technology a savings to the City of $2.25M is possible. Or, we could say that a POC will cost Milpitas twice as much as a shuttle.

Obviously, if we realized a savings of $2.25M in TASP development impact fees, use of that money is restricted to infrastructure improvements in that area. So, the question becomes what other projects might need funding? The first one that occurs to me is the Montague crossing planned at Penitencia Creek. We could have both crossings for the same cost as just the one near Piper. And that is without a dime from VTA, MTC, or the Feds.

If you can't respond by December 15, please let me know. Otherwise, I look forward to your response by then. Wouldn't it be great to save the City $2M?
Rob Means, President (2017)
Santa Clara County Democratic Club
1421 Yellowstone Ave., Milpitas, CA 95035-6913  a progressive organization

25 October 2017
Oligarchy and Fascism in the US
This 8-minute audio outlines how oligarchy works in the US. (excerpted from 2017Oct19 Hour 1 Thom Hartmann Program)

14 August 2017
26 October 2017
Stolen: Special Election in Georgia’s 6th District (Ossoff vs. Handel)
Something fishy about the Georgia 6th district election:
  • Normally vote-by-mail ballots in that district go heavily Republican.
  • In the special election Jon Ossoff ran way ahead of Karen Handel by 64% to 36% on the mail-in ballots.
  • Still, Handel supposedly won from ballots cast at the polling places.
  • Those polling places use electronic voting machines with no paper ballots. Hence, there is no way to verify the electronic results.

Here is more detail: and a background story.

A dozen democracy/election-integrity advocates sent a letter to election officials in Georgia expressing “Grave Concerns about the integrity of GA6 Special Runoff Election”. A few days later, the servers (and 2 backups) that could have provided evidence of rigging were wiped clean. “People who have nothing to hide don’t behave this way.”

Jon did not lose that race; it was stolen! And it was just the latest theft using rigged vote-counting machines in a long line that dates back over 10 years.

Records destruction seems to be the fallback plan in more than just the Ossoff election. It was also done in the Shultz/Canova election:

11 June 2017
Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes
This 3-minute audio with author Richard Clarke about his book outlines why people don't respond well to the huge threat to our future posed by Global Warming. (excerpted from 2017June7 Hour 2 Thom Hartmann Program 20-minute interview with the author that also delves into why/how 9/11 was allowed to happen.)

10 June 2017
The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child
This 55-minute audio is a reading from the book's Introduction that asks (and answers) the question "But could it be that ADHD, this psychiatric 'illness,' has a positive side?".

31 May 2017
Legacy of Secrecy
This 35-minute audio outlines the assassination and the cover up (excerpted from 2017May30 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program).

29 May 2017
HJR 48 - Move To Amend
This 2-minute audio outlines the need for a 28th Amendment (excerpted from 2017Mar22 Hour 1 Thom Hartmann Program).

29 May 2017
Instant Runoff Voting / Ranked Choice Voting
This 7-minute audio explains Ranked Choice Voting and why it is better for democracy (excerpted from 2017Jan18 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program). More info here.

29 May 2017
"Joe Republican" doesn't get it.
This 5-minute audio follows Joe Republican through his day pointing out the benefits he receives from government (excerpted from 2016Nov28 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program).

17 May 2017
Reducing Allergies and Preventing Colds
This 4-minute audio says to use local honey to deal with allergies, and nasal irrigation with salt water to prevent colds (excerpted from 2017May17 Hour 1 Thom Hartmann Program).

2017 CDP Press Conference from Robert Means on Vimeo.

CDP calls on DNC to fight voter suppression and rigged vote-counting machines.

17 Jan 2017
8 March 2017
18 April 2017
11 May 2017
28 June 2017
21 July 2017
29 August 2017
22 November 2017
Voter Suppression and Rigged Vote-Counting Machines
Demand Verifiable Elections.

On Jan 16, 2017, the Santa Clara County Democratic Club (SCCDC) approved a resolution calling for our Democratic Party “to aggressively press for changes needed to achieve more democratic voting procedures”. In other words, stop ignoring voter suppression and rigged vote-counting machines, and start doing something about both.

During discussion of the Resolution, most people acknowledged that voter suppression was widespread.
However, many questioned the rigging of vote-counting machines.
In response, this supplemental information was documented.

On March 2, 2017, the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee (SCCDCC) approved a re-worded resolution that was submitted on March 7 to the Resolutions Committee for consideration at the California Democratic Convention in May 2017. On April 8, 2017, California Democratic Party leaders in Region 5 (Assembly Districts 15, 18, 20, & 25) endorsed this resolution.

On May 1, 2017, the original SCCDC resolution, the SCCDCC version, and a version from the Sonoma County Democratic Party were merged into a single version that sponsors of the 3 other versions support. You can help by adding your name (or the name of your organization) as a supporter at the bottom of this web page.

That version was passed by the Resolutions Committee during the California Democratic Convention (May 19-21). On August 27, the Executive Board of the CDP gave it a final approval (see page 11 of the CDP Reports Packet for Resolution 17-05.18).

Then, on October 21, 2017, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed the Resolution declaring that "the Democratic National Committee will establish and expedite a 50-state strategy to explore, investigate, and pursue all remedies in overturning current and future methods used in undermining U.S. citizensʼ right to vote or to have their votes counted as cast in free, fair, verified elections, ..." The DNC has yet to make good on that promise.

If you would like to stop Vote Theft, urge anyone you know who is on the DNC to press forward immediately so we can win BIG in 2018. Better yet, bypass the DNC and by calling on local activists in Red states to demand that their election officials stop voter suppression and ban hackable voting machines. Find the guide on how to do that at the Election Integrity Caucus website.

The 2017 security conference DEF CON ran a three-day Voting Machine Hacking Village to test the security of various machines and networks used in US elections. By the end of the weekend, every one of the roughly 30 machines at the village - including those used to tabulate votes and to check voters in when they go to the polls - had been hacked.

This 2-minute video from Robert Reich about voter suppression starts with "hundreds of thousands of Americans are being denied the right to vote because they are poor."

This 5-minute video from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains how right-wing myths about voter fraud are used to enact restrictive voting laws.

This 2-minute audio explains why the Democratic Party leadership remained silent for so long on both voter suppression and rigged voting machines (excerpted from 2017Jul12 Hour 3 Thom Hartmann Program). Now that the DNC has passed the Resolution, expect and demand change.

In this 3-minute audio clip from hour 2 of the Nov. 27, 2018, Thom Hartmann Program, DNC Chair Tom Perez gives a non-response to Thom's question: "What is the Democratic Party doing about [voter suppression]?"

Major elements of the following 3 bills (from the 2017/2018 Congress) have been superseded by HR 1 - which gets a thumbs-up from voting rights activist Jim Soper:
HR 1 requires paper ballots nationwide, which would also eliminate paperless and dangerous Internet and smartphone voting. It would end jerrymandering of seats in the House; fully restore the Voting Rights Act; sensible campaign finance rules; and open up voter registration, and ...; and ...; and ... . It needs to address auditing and open source election systems, but it is a great start.
Here's the longer story:

Led by Progressive Caucus member Representative Mark Pocan and a few other Democrats, 3 good (and others that are poor) bills were introduced in the 2017/2018 Congress that address these issues.

  • Rigged Vote-Counting Machines: U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced the Securing America’s Future Elections (SAFE) Act (HR-1562). This comprehensive legislation would safeguard our elections from future foreign cyber-attacks and interference by permanently classifying the integrity and security of our elections as a key component of critical infrastructure. This important classification would place elections systems in the same category as other critical infrastructure including the power grid, the banking system, and other utilities. The SAFE Act also addresses election standards to protect against cyber-threats, better voting machines that provide paper ballots, and random audits of ballots to thwart interference.
  • Rigged Vote-Counting Machines: California's Kamala Harris joined other U.S. senators in co-sponsoring the Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act of 2018 (S-3049) which requires paper ballots and statistically rigorous “risk-limiting” audits for all federal elections – the two steps cited by election experts as necessary to give voters confidence that election results have not been changed by foreign governments or other hackers.
  • Voter Suppression: U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the Voter Roll Integrity Act ((HR-3091). Title III of the Election Integrity Act addresses key voter rights issues that will ensure our elections remain accessible for all Americans. It establishes guidelines for the publication of voter purge lists and a process by which individuals can challenge their placement on a purge list.

At the SCCDC Sept. 18, 2017 meeting, this slide show was used to present Vote Theft, both Voter Suppression and Rigged Vote-Counting Machines. Here's the 44-minute video of that presentation. Specific links within both include:

7 Feb 2017
Protect the Constitution
Resolution in Support of Congressional Investigation

From: Rob Means
To Milpitas City Council: Garry Barbadillo , Marsha Grilli , Anthony Phan , Robert Nuñez , Richard Tran
Subject: Resolution in Support of Congressional Investigation
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2017 16:53:41 -0800

Mayor and Council Members,

The fake President is in violation of one or both of the Constitution's Emoluments clauses. Here is the analysis.
In particular, see pages 15 – 18.

Our City can push back by passing this on-line Resolution in Support of Congressional Investigation regarding Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump:

Your oath to uphold the Constitution should make this an easy decision.

Rob Means,1421 Yellowstone Ave., Milpitas, CA 95035-6913
408-262-0420h, 408-262-8975w,

8 Mar 2017
Feinstein Press Release: Trump ‘Blatantly Defying’ Constitution

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on China’s decision to award President Trump 38 additional trademarks on his name that will financially benefit him and his company:

“The news that China may now grant 38 more trademarks to benefit President Trump shows the floodgates are open on foreign efforts to curry favor. This is exactly what the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause was designed to prevent and President Trump is blatantly defying it.

“It’s appalling that the president refuses to address this crystal clear conflict of interest. He should immediately divest and create a blind trust, and he must be transparent about his business interests. Instead, we’re seeing a president who appears eager to leverage his office for personal gain.

“It’s time for Republicans in Congress to join our efforts to hold President Trump accountable. The Constitution demands it and the American people deserve it.”

27 Jan 2017
Save the City Money!

Studies indicate that universal single-payer healthcare systems save money. The City of Santa Monica estimates an annual savings of $6M in healthcare costs for its employees. Based upon employee counts, Milpitas could expect a savings of $1.5M or more per year. Here is more of the Santa Monica story. Below is a resolution calling on cities to "execute a cost analysis and calculate the savings" if universal single-payer is adopted. Here's a simple, short presentation of where those savings can be found. An estimated Milpitas savings of $1.5M per year is something worth investigating!
E-mail from Kevin McKeown : Jan 20 02:15PM -0800

In 2009 we passed a resolution calling on Democrats in local offices to get their finance directors to calculate local government savings under single payer, as I had done in Santa Monica. At that point, single payer would have saved our community $6 million a year. Next Tuesday as Santa Monica reviews budget options for the next fiscal year, I will again be asking that calculation of our finance department. The 2009 CDP resolution is below.

Kevin McKeown
City Councilmember
Santa Monica

Whereas, the declared position (resolution SAC09.29) of the California Democratic Party in the current national debate on healthcare reform is support for universal single-payer healthcare, with everyone in and no one left out;

And, whereas the national debate on healthcare reform may be but a precursor to a more productive debate within California on the passage of universal single-payer healthcare for our state, if the national government fails to adopt single-payer, with the relative cost to taxpayers being a likely point of public concern;

And, whereas DSCC member and California Democratic Party Irish-American Caucus vice-chair Kevin McKeown has, as an elected Councilmember in the City of Santa Monica, successfully directed that city’s Finance Department to execute a cost analysis and calculate the savings to that city’s government should universal single-payer be adopted, those savings being a significant and illustrative six million dollars per year for just that one city;

Therefore, be it resolved that the California Democratic Party, as a matter of principle, calls upon Democratic elected officials to support the CDP position on universal single-payer healthcare by, within their own jurisdictions, pursuing a cost analysis of the potential savings to local, regional, and state government under universal single-payer;

And, be it further resolved that the California Democratic Party calls upon local Democratic organizations to assist in communicating this request to local electeds, and in publicizing the results of the saving studies, thereby supporting the CDP position on universal single-payer healthcare as well as supporting Democratic electeds who adhere to the Party position and vote in favor of single-payer.

Written and submitted by Leah Herzberg, 41st AD Committee, LACDP; edited by Kevin McKeown, Councilmember of Santa Monica, Ricco Ross, AD Committee, LACDP

Sponsored by Valley Democrats United, Progressive Democrats Los Angeles (PDLA), Progressive Democrats Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM), Julie Lopez Dad, Chair 41st AD Committee, LACDP, and others

17 Dec 2016
Defend Democracy!
Demand the Electoral College do its job.

In the words of Jesse Jackson, evidence abounds about “the systematic and purposeful voter suppression that certainly cost Clinton the election. The Russians didn’t do it. It was done by right-wing partisan state officials eager to suppress the vote of people of color, the young and the working poor.”

Using Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (IVRCP), 27 states have knocked one million legal voters off the rolls. IVRCP wrongly tagged voters as registering in two states or voting in two states, a felony crime. The suspect list of potential criminals contains an astonishing SEVEN MILLION NAMES — naming ONE IN SEVEN voters of color (including Asian-Americans) in the Crosscheck states.

This “Jim Crow election” knocked 55,000 mostly minority voters off the rolls in Michigan where Trump “won” by less than 11,000 votes. Recounts of the votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – where exit polls showed Clinton was the winner - were stopped. So we don’t know for sure whether Mr. Trump actually won those states..

The Founding Fathers intended the Electoral College to stop an unfit man from becoming President. The Constitution they crafted gives us this tool. Conscience demands that we use it.

Join others in Sacramento on Monday, 12/19, to demand the Electoral College do its job.

Learn more at or

Also, e-mail your viewpoint to the electors at

If you want the voter-suppression details, for $3 you can watch on Amazon or Vimeo "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy": voter suppression background 3-minute trailer

Here’s an important message for the electors:

15 Sep 2016
The banking system is precarious. Here's a 13-minute description of how it actually works (as opposed to how you think it works) from the Thom Hartmann Program.

24 Aug 2016
9 Oct 2016

Will the Presidential election be stolen? It has happened before. The "strip and flip" actions that subvert democracy are briefly described in this 3-minute audio clip from the Thom Hartmann Program.

During the primaries, nearly all Red states instituted voter-suppression laws that suppressed the vote of seniors, students, minorities, and the poor ( - exactly the groups that favored Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Additionally, illegal voter roll purges ("stripping") and registration tampering tilted the field.

Rigged voting machines have exhibited "Red shift" ("flipping") and been electing Republicans since 1998. The most famous case was to depose (and then jail) Alabama Governor Don Siegelman ( Now, the "Red shift" has favored Hillary as shown in the graphic below and detailed at   and The exit polls and the electronic vote totals are very different in eleven states. The Media Consortium and Edison Media Research cancelled the exit polls in 8 more states to further obscure the fact that the voting machines were rigged. Voting integrity activist Cliff Arnebeck has filed suit in Ohio to get the raw data in order to prove to the court that the voting machines were rigged in favor of Hillary (  ). Republicans have a long history of selecting the Democratic nominee to run against; this is just the latest example.

Here’s the Redacted version of the story:

Here’s the San Francisco Bay View version of the story:

11 Aug 2016
Arthritis symptoms? According to this 2-minute audio from the Thom Hartmann Programm eating too much from the nightshade family of plants (tomato, potato, peppers and eggplant) may be the problem.

28 Nov 2015
For years I've been curious about the potential for live electronic voting at meetings. Rather than counting hands, have folks indicate preferences digitally. At the Podcar City Conference, I got a first-hand experience. Rather than special equipment (like the old days), this system uses smartphones. Here's the tagline and website: Voting with smartphones during presentations, For simple yes/no subjects, hand-raising is still the best way to get a flavor of the group intention. This tool also provides for multi-choice and fill-in-the-blank options.

26 Nov 2015
After all the reports over the past year of police murders of unarmed blacks, those of us who enjoy white privilege would do well to read an opinion letter published in the New York Times entitled "Where Are Black Children Safe?". It starts this way:
Black children are not allowed to be children. They are not allowed to be safe, not at home, not at pool parties, not driving or sitting in cars listening to music, not walking down the street, not in school. For black children, for black people, to exist is to be endangered. Our bodies receive no sanctity or safe harbor.

We can never forget this truth. We are never allowed to forget this truth.

26 Nov 2015
About 39 minutes into the 20 October 2015 podcast of the Thom Hartmann Program, Thom says :
The last Republican who was legitimately elected as president of the United States by a majority of the people of this country - without fraud - was Dwight Eisenhower.
Listen to this 6-minute explanation of that statement or read Thom's longer explanation.

15 Oct 2015
Bernie Sanders calls himself a "democratic socialist". The lame-stream media and most political insiders drop the "democratic" part and make a big deal about the "socialist" part - as though it were a bad thing. As though it were Soviet-style authoritarian socialism. Reality check for folks who just plain don't like anything socialist: I like my socialist police and fire departments, schools, roads, sewer and water systems. I'd also like to have a socialist Internet service like Chattanooga, TN, and electric service like residents of Santa Clara receive. So, here's what a democratic socialist really is. Are you one?

"A few words about democratic socialism from some democratic socialists" published Tue Oct 13, 2015

The Democratic Socialists of America is the largest such group in the United States. Today the stated view of DSA (which has formally endorsed Sanders) is this:

Democratic socialists do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. But we do not want big corporate bureaucracies to control our society either. Rather, we believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect.

Today, corporate executives who answer only to themselves and a few wealthy stockholders make basic economic decisions affecting millions of people. Resources are used to make money for capitalists rather than to meet human needs. We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them.

Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Democratic socialists favor as much decentralization as possible. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.

Democratic socialists have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned. While we believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy, market mechanisms are needed to determine the demand for many consumer goods.

Obviously, not every democratic socialist is a member of DSA, including Sanders himself. And other democratic socialists take a different view on some matters. But the approach laid out above is clearly not the authoritarian socialism that some would like to make of it.

14 Aug 2015
Letter to the San Jose Mercury-News published on-line 8/17/2015 about PRT capacity

It's troubling when elected officials who make transportation decisions misrepresent advanced transit options like Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). Such was the case at Thursday's Transportation Town Hall sponsored by the SJ Chamber of Commerce. Our State Senator dismissed the option of using above-ground PRT technology rather than underground BART by saying PRT did not have enough capacity. Although he believes that PRT cabs (or “podcars”), each carrying only 1 or 2 people, cannot deliver as many people per day as BART trains, he clearly did not run the numbers.

VTA projects daily ridership for the extension of BART from Berryessa to Santa Clara at 55,000, or about 28,000 each direction. If each computer-controlled podcar only contained 1 passenger, and headways (spacing between podcars) were the 2 seconds recommended for human-controlled cars, each PRT guideway could deliver 1800 people per hour (p/h) – or 86,400 passenger per day (1800 p/h x 24 hr). At a cost of $180M, PRT could provide 24/7 service, start operating years sooner, and save the taxpayer $4700M and the need for another screw-the-poor sales tax.

In the interest of truth and clarity, throughput numbers above should be reduced about 50% as noted in the October 17, 2012 memo (page 5) from Hans F. Larsen to the TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE regarding the AUTOMATED TRANSIT NETWORK FEASIBILITY STUDY:
Realistically, throughput for an ATN is likely to be much less — perhaps even less than half — of what would be indicated from an idealized capacity calculation derived from simple line-haul formulas.
Even a 50% reduction in throughput, however, could be cost-effectively offset by reducing the headways from 2 seconds to 1 second to double the capacity. Or double capacity by building another guideway. In the case of replacing the BART Burrow, doubling the PRT system cost from 4% to 8% of BART's cost is still a great deal.

ATRA presents another way to see capacity as outlined in this ATRA article which includes the chart below:

The Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee passed this resolution supporting a Constitutional Amendment:


WHEREAS, the people's right to free speech and fair elections are essential to democracy and effective self-governance; however, U.S. Supreme Court decisions have granted multi-billion dollar corporations and other artificial entities the same rights as natural persons to unrestricted spending on political speech, thus severely restricting the ability of federal, state and local governments to enact reasonable campaign finance reforms and regulations regarding corporate political activity; and

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are intended to protect the rights of human beings – not artificial entities such as corporations which have special advantages not enjoyed by human beings plus the many traditional and necessary rights and powers provided for by state law, and usually put profits for shareholders ahead of concerns for the greater good of society – but the U.S. Supreme Court decisions extending constitutional rights to corporations have resulted in increasing domination by these powerful entities and a corresponding loss of rights for people; and

WHEREAS, sixteen states and more than 550 local governments throughout our country have passed resolutions or ballot initiatives calling for a constitutional amendment establishing that corporations should not have constitutional rights and money does not equal speech, and the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that are widely deemed to be egregious, wrongly decided or significantly out-of-step with the prevailing values of the populace;

1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only, and that artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
2. Federal, State and local government shall have the right to regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure, and shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY calls on other communities to join with us in this action by passing similar Resolutions.

Here's a video that graphically shows our environmental situation.
Wake Up, Freak Out, then Get a Grip (video) An ingeniously clear and engaging 11 minute animation explaining why the next few years are the most important humanity has ever faced, or will ever face. We who are lucky enough to be alive now are effectively the most powerful people who will ever live, and future generations are breathlessly watching our every choice.

At the 3/7 Let's Get Moving Silicon Valley Summit, this question was submitted to the panelists but was not read:
The BART Extension to Santa Clara seems to be a black hole for transportation funding. Rather than passing a regressive sales tax to pay for it, why not replace the $4B 4-station BART extension with a 100-station Automated Transit Network (ATN) for half the price?

Here's a 21-minute audio clip from the Thom Hartmann Program that presents a fascinating story of the revolution you never heard about - the one in 1800!

Democracy is not just a human invention, but rather common in nature. This 6-minute audio clip from the Thom Hartmann Program summarizes a research article finishes with this:
We conclude that consensus decision making is common in non-human animals, and that cooperation between group members in the decision-making process is likely to be the norm, even when the decision involves significant conflict of interest.

Here's a 1-minute audio clip from the Thom Hartmann Program in which Senator Bernie Sanders presents a summary of current climate science.

Here's a 2-minute aerial view of the People's Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014, which the "lame stream" media ignored. When 400,000 people are on the street in one place (New York), and the media ignores it, that qualifies as deliberately suppressing the news. If your news source did not tell you about something this big, what else are they not telling you?

Yeah, the Republicans won big in the election. However, they had to cheat to do it. This 10-minute audio clip from the Thom Hartmann Program outlines some of the ways Republicans and their sympathizers cheated people out of voting.

Perhaps the most remarkable fact about this local election was the low turnout. An average turnout of Milpitas voters in a mid-term election would be about 54%. According to the Registrar of Voters (ROV), only 29% of registered voters cast a ballot. In the world of statistics and human behavior, that is a huge difference. And not a good sign for a healthy democracy.

This 6-minute audio clip from the Thom Hartmann Program offers two suggestions for increasing voter turnout.

Citizens United was a legal case decided by the Supreme Court that effectively endorsed the spending of large sums of money to corrupt our democracy. We've seen the effects of big money on both national and state elections. Now we can see it in our local election in the form of Measure E.

First, the big-money Bumb family (that owns Bay 101, the Berryessa Flea Market, and several other enterprises) pays nearly $250,000 to put Measure E on our Milpitas ballot. Then they hire a lobbyist (Bob Livengood) and funnel lots of money into convincing us what a good deal this card room is for Milpitas residents. In addition to the many mailers we can expect before election day, Bob and the big Bumb money have arranged a big kickoff party, ads on the front page of the Milpitas Post, a so-called "Job Fair", and distribution of yard signs.

Fortunately, a few community members are offering a different view of Measure E. If not for their efforts, the big Bumb money would likely convince enough voters that Measure E is really good for Milpitas - rather than questionable at best.

Getting big money out of our politics is necessary to restore the health of our democracy - which is clearly ailing. That is why a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is needed that says money is not speech. Then, we can do what we did before the Supreme Court 5 changed the rules. We can regulate how much money wealthy people can spend to influence our elections - and our lives.

When asked whether I support the proposed "casino" (actually a card mansion), my response comes from my vision for the future of Milpitas - a sustainable and family-friendly future for Milpitas. First, any gambling establishment does not pass the family-friendly test. A sustainable business would be one that provides food, shelter, or any of the many products and services we need for civilized life. A card mansion that diverts money from the community into the hands of the rich (the Bumb family) is not sustainable. The sole benefit to the residents of Milpitas is the estimated $8M of net revenue. While I agree money is needed for the City to restore services, there is another, better way to increase revenues! So, no, I do not support the proposed gambling establishment.

On the campaign trail, two good ideas were suggested:
1) As new housing is being built in the transit area near the BART station, pipe recycled water to toilets. Recycled water is already being delivered to that area. By using it to flush toilets, a relatively inexpensive addition during construction could save lots of drinking water.

2) Deploy Blue Star Savior around town so that deaths from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can be reduced. SCA is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and strikes people of all ages. This smart-phone app enables untrained people to summon CPR-trained and certified people to aid a victim of SCA.

Aug. 7, 2014 e-mail to supporters:
On Tuesday, I filed my paperwork to run for Council. I thought you might like to see what will be printed in the sample ballot.
Candidate Statement for Rob Means running for Milpitas City Council
(200 words maximum using up to 22 lines, each with a maximum of 72 characters wide)

     After a successful computer software career, I've dedicated many of
my 37 years living here to working for a family-friendly Milpitas:
     leading efforts to develop bicycle paths & creekside trails;
     helping our schools & libraries maintain their facilities;
     supporting development plans that benefit our community while
     protecting our hillsides.

     On these issues, I advocate for the community & its long-term
future. As a Council member, I would create public-private partnerships
to develop infrastructure with community-wide benefits, such as:
     1) Working to locate a K-8 school in the fast-growing transit area
     with joint City/school use of sports fields.
     2) Inviting advanced transit companies to build a critical crossing
     near the BART station. Then, at little City cost, expand to serve
     the entire transit area – possibly all of Milpitas.
     3) Supporting home/business upgrades with water- & energy-saving
     features - creating jobs & keeping money in the local economy.

     I am ready to serve as your Council representative. In 2012, the
San Jose Mercury-News agreed by endorsing me as “a straightforward,
thoughtful guy ... a true believer in transparency in government.”
     Please see & vote Rob Means for City Council.

On August 5, without discussion or input from the public, the City Council approved installation of signs in public buildings across Milpitas saying "In God We Trust". Those of us who believe in the separation of church and state bristle at this latest step in joining the two. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is not a Christian nation, nor did the founding fathers think so. In fact, Thomas Jefferson (a Deist) fretted that church influence would corrupt government. On the other hand, Madison (a staunch Christian) believed that a co-mingling would corrupt religion and churches. Now we see that both were correct as the Christian Right both corrupts and is corrupted by its involvement in politics. As one more aligned with a Deist/Buddhist/Wiccan/Native American view of god, I would rather see signs saying "In Mother Earth We Trust".

The July 4th debut of the mobile billboard was more popular than expected. A good fraction of the estimated 20,000 attendees of the fireworks show saw me and the billboard - many with smiles, thumbs up, and comments of support.

The 6/13/2014 Milpitas Post Editorial concluded with a voting suggestion I endorse:

Perhaps the time has come to have the entire election process modernized moving toward 100 percent voting by mail. The hybrid system we have is costly and not very efficient. It limits turnout and sows confusion.

The Sierra Club reviewed the 2013 Climate Action Plan, and submitted a letter of response.

Several years ago, it was reported Milpitas was spending about $1M/year on repairing pavement that was breaking down at a rate of $2M/year. The Pavement Condition Index (PCI) of Milpitas streets (a measure of the quality of our streets) was falling. Via e-mail, I asked Steve Chan, Traffic Engineer for the City, about the matter. He responded on October 17, 2012 with this:

The average weighted PCI of the entire Milpitas street network was 67 for 2011, 68 for 2009, and 70 in 2006.
The City received ~$2.5 million in ARRA funding towards street rehabilitation of North Park Victoria, South Park Victoria and Abbott Ave.
The fact that we are deferring maintenance on our streets (and lots of other things) during financially difficult times is not surprising. Continuing to neglect infrastructure maintenance costs is a short term way to balance the budget. However, it will cost us more in the long run.

The Betrayal of America's Middle Class Was a Choice, Not an Accident (Amy B. Dean, Truthout)

The outsourcing of good jobs, the elimination of pensions, rampant home foreclosures; skyrocketing higher education costs and mounting debt: Given these stark realities, the American middle class seems to be sinking fast. The renowned reporting team of Donald Barlett and James Steele insists it is no accident.

"We were impressed with your proven passion to protect the environment and knowledge of environmental issues." - 9/15/12 Sierra Club letter to Rob Means

"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since writing my original letter about the apparent mismanagement of the City, more mistakes have been reported:
  • A ruling by a Public Employment Relations Board judge found that the City "violated employee rights ... in connection with its treatment of past ProTECH President Nancy Mendizabal."
  • According to the State, the Milpitas redevelopment agency wrongly transferred hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets. Learn more from this Milpitas Post article.

  • Contact Webmaster Rob Means at 408-262-8975,
        1421 Yellowstone Avenue, Milpitas, CA 95035