Welcome to the ESE Report, a weekly blog that touches on leadership, education, and public affairs from a unique perspective. It’s a view from the “other side of the tracks.”
I was born and raised in East San Jose, the predominately Latino section of the Santa Clara Valley that has been historically mislabeled “the bad side of town” by those whom have spent little or no time there. Despite this negative stereotype, the East Side I’m from is a no-nonsense working-class neighborhood with no frills, a place where my late parents taught me and my siblings to work hard, get an education, play by the rules, and respect ourselves and others.
As a boy, I had a happy and carefree childhood. As a young man, I flunked out of college, wandered aimlessly through life for several years, and ultimately returned to college to graduate on the dean’s list. As a man, I have lived the American Dream: I married a wonderful woman, we have two daughters, and I built a career on work that inspires me.
Professionally, I’ve had the rare opportunity to roam the sidelines as a high school basketball coach, walk the halls of Congress as a corporate executive, strike the gavel as a school board president, and experience the machinations of local government as a political chief of staff.
In over 25 years of working in politics, business, education, and community service, I’ve seen self-interest and self-preservation bring out the worst in people, and I’ve seen the enduring human spirit of serving others bring out the best in people.
When I was 46 years old, I had a massive heart attack and suffered from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a rare lung disorder that few people survive. With strong faith, a loving family, supportive friends, and a great medical team, I live to tell the story today.
It’s these experiences slow-cooked together that have molded the way I see the world: practical and hard-nosed, yet hopeful and idealistic. Like Frank Capra’s fictional hero George Bailey from the 1947 Christmas Classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I’m a sucker for happy endings. Through it all, my heart and soul, and my core values are still from the East Side.
The inspiration for the name of this blog came from Navarra Williams, a former corporate executive who became a mentor and friend. Early in my corporate career, Navarra, who himself grew up in the tough neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., gave me the nickname “East Side Eddie,” a moniker I proudly carry with me to this day.
Every city, town, and hamlet in America has an “east side,” and every east side has a voice. It’s the voice of hard-working people who toil so their children can have a better life. It’s the voice that’s rarely heard. It’s the voice that deserves to be understood. The ESE Report hopes to do just that by being insightful, provocative, amusing, and, at times, inspiring.
Please feel free to browse the Leadership, Education, and Public Affairs buttons on the blog. I hope you find the topics interesting. You can follow the ESE Report by clicking the “Follow” link on the bottom, right-hand corner of this page.
I look forward to hearing from you!
San José, California
September 23, 2013
15 thoughts on “Welcome to ESEReport.com!”
Thanks for the blog. Like you I retuned to college, SJSU Class of 2011Dean’s List 2009 and 2011. Although I have not been on the East Side since our Kinney’s days one of the problems that was inherent in our community and prevelant in my life was drugs and alcohol. I am happy to say I’ve been clean and sober since 04 and my personal life is filled with days helping my brother’s and sisters who struggle with chemical dependency.
I am proud to call you friend and I am beyond excited at the work and energy you put back into our community. I no longer roam the streets of ESSJ but it will always be my home.
Agustin “Augie” Sanchez
Eddie: We’re lucky to have you provide this forum where we can gain your unique perspective on the issues each of us confront on a daily basis. You’ve always had a knack for “speaking truth to power” and it will be interesting to follow you on this journey.
Wonderful blog, you serve as a shining example for others.
Thanks Ron! I look forward to your comments.
Thanks for your sharing your story Augie! There are many people who have stories similar to ours, and we need to keep sharing them to inspire others to achieve their goals. Congratulations!
Thanks Andrew…I look forward to further insights and comments.
Great Blog, as my husband moved up the ladder at his job friends told him we should move from not quite the Eastside but North San Jose. He always he loved the diversity, the beautiful hills, his secret treasure for jogging Alum Rock Park, and Peter’s Bakery. He always encourage people to go for the very best they could be even the week before he died he was inspiring the kids around our dinner table to stay in college and dream Big. I am looking forward to following your blog. I want you to know the Garcia Family is very proud of you, your name comes up many times at family gatherings.So blessed that your health has improved and you are able to keep encouraging the youth of the Eastside!.
Thank you Patty! Please say to the family for me. Your support is heart-warming!
Hi Eddie ~ I will enjoy following your post as I too come from East San Jose! So many memories from the days! It made me who am I today and although at times seemed difficult I thank God for my mother who believed in me and taught me to be strong!
Congratulations Eddie and I would like to publish your blogs in my magazine, I want to start a section about successful people from East San San Jose, tu eres un gran modelo a seguir, Felicidades Eddie !!
Thank you! Please share the blog with others.
I love the quote of yours, “Every city, town, and hamlet in America has an “east side,” and every east side has a voice. It’s the voice of hard-working people who toil so their children can have a better life. ” Even though I’m far from my hometown, I hope to serve the “East Siders” in my community the way you do in San Jose. It is what we were taught to do. I look forward to reading your blog.
Give my love to your girls…
Keep fighting the good fight Sisi…I’m proud of you!
Inspirational you are! Thank you East Side Eddie for loving your Latino community as you do. I enjoyed reading through your blog and enjoyed learning so much that you have done for our community. You and your wife have / are doing wonder’s for our young Latino’s. I am enlightened to read what is coming next. Thank you for what you have and continue doing.
Thanks Marissa! I’ve always admired you and Daryl for the work you do with softball and girls. It definitely takes a village.
Eddie, I look forward to following your blog. My grandparents immigrated to the US as children from the Ukraine in early 20th Century. My grandfather sold junk off the back of a horse and carriage until he could open a used and later new appliance store, working every day during the depression. I’d like to think that he could have been called East Side Joe. Marty Krovetz