This has been a terrible summer from the violence in the Ukraine, Gaza, Israel, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, to Ferguson, Missouri and murders here in San Jose. Oh I understand each one is different and perhaps the gravity and complexity of the issues involved with each should not allow them to be lumped together. But with the onslaught of violence in our world today, perhaps no greater than any other time, the times cry out for reflection to honor quiet heroes. People whose lives touched many in an inspirational way that reflected the good, the decent, the human imperfections, and the stature of being a quiet hero for our troubled world. Read moreTweet
What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society.
Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?
On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year. Read moreTweet
AB 1522 passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee with unanimous approval. The bill is now on the floor of the Senate. Assemblymember Gonzalez anticipates a Senate floor vote on the bill next week or the following and if it is passed out, then it needs to come back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, in which the amendments (none of which are substantive) that were taken in the Senate are approved by the Assembly. This all has to take place before August 31. If we succeed, the bill then goes to the Governor and he has 30 days to sign it or veto it. Stay tuned!
The waitress at your favorite breakfast spot comes down with the flu. She has two children to support and an income that barely allows her to meet expenses in Silicon Valley. Here is her choice: stay at work when she shouldn’t, handling food for hundreds of customers, or lose pay (and perhaps a job) by staying home to take care of herself.
A new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that in San Jose, one in three jobs does not allow workers to earn sick leave benefits. Nationwide, that number is closer to 40 percent in the private sector, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. Read moreTweet
Now that Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen is soon to be out of a job in San Jose City government, she’s looking around for her next gig. After coming in third in the race for San Jose Mayor, rumor has it that she’s eyeing the District 3 Board of Supervisors seat, which is currently held by Dave Cortese. Never mind that she just endorsed council-mate Sam Liccardo for Mayor. Madison’s best case scenario is that Sam loses, despite her endorsement. Otherwise the supervisorial seat doesn’t open. If this scenario unfolds, Madison has a problem though: she does not live in Dave Cortese’s supervisorial district. Not only that, but she has little base of support in that part of the county. Only 3% of Madison’s City Council District is in Cortese’s supervisorial district. That’s not much of a base, especially since Madison’s election results in her council district are far from solid.
Some political debates have two equally valid sides. More often than not, however, the evidence is significantly more one-sided than journalists and pundits suggest. AB 1522, a bill that currently sits on the California Senate’s Committee on Appropriations on its Suspense File for consideration on August 14, is an example of legislation for which there is no ethical, intellectually honest opposition. Three related lenses of policy analysis demonstrate why AB 1522’s change to allow California workers to earn up to three paid sick days deserves our support.Tweet
Now that campaign finance reports are out for the end of the Primary season, we can see just what kinds of games candidates are playing to make themselves look successful.
Take the case of San Jose City Council District One candidate Charles “Chappie” Jones. Campaign reports show that Jones loaned his campaign $19,356 last spring. At the time, his opponent Assemblymember Paul Fong had raised roughly $15,000 which was pretty close to Jones’s pre-loan amount of $16,000. That extra $19K made it look like Chappie had raised more than he really did. Read moreTweet
Given that they share a conservative voting record on the City Council, Madison Nguyen’s endorsement of Sam Liccardo for Mayor comes as no surprise. They are both to blame for the current public safety crisis and endorsing Dave Cortese would be a tacit admission that the city has crumbled under their leadership.
But if Liccardo is counting on Nguyen’s coattails consider this: The San Jose City Council District Seven race last spring had three Vietnamese-American candidates in a largely Vietnamese-American District. Madison Nguyen, the incumbent in District 7, endorsed Buu Thai in that race. Buu Thai came in dead last. By far. Two other Vietnamese American candidates in that race who have been publicly critical of Madison Nguyen, drew 31% (Tam Nguyen) and 26% (Van Le) of the vote. Buu Thai only got 12%. Madison Nguyen’s endorsement isn’t worth much.Tweet
UPDATE: It looks like there will be NO public safety tax proposal on the November ballot, and NO general sales tax proposal. The good guys on the council were able to thwart the sham of a “public safety” tax proposal and the Mayor and his allies defeated the general sales tax plan which actually could have done some good. Back to drawing board.
The San Jose City Council is poised to vote on a sales tax proposal under the guise that the revenue generated will be used to reduce skyrocketing crime. In reality, the tax increase has so many strings attached to it there is little likelihood the revenue will ever be collected. The scheme for a quarter-cent sales tax increase enables its supporters to claim they are doing something about the City’s out-of-control crime, when in fact a closer look at the proposal shows they are not.Tweet
Santa Clara County
Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants
Now that we’re out of July vacations, we have a lot more to talk about on Policy Watch. Let’s start with the most dramatic, controversial and needed: Santa Clara County Supervisors developing a “host family” program to provide temporary housing for unaccompanied immigrant children. Thousands of children have been streaming across the southern U.S. border fleeing violence and abject poverty in Central America and when they get here, what awaits them, in many cases, is a detention center and little of the nurturing and care these children need and deserve. Santa Clara County Supervisors, under the request of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, pulled together a meeting of stakeholders in July and came up with the “host family” idea in which children would be evaluated and placed in homes primarily for support, housing, and daily care. This model would not substitute for the required Federal processes. It would merely provide a humane placement while those processes move forward. Read moreTweet
The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators — a decision that, if upheld, would disrupt longtime practices in the fast-food industry and ease the way for unionizing nationwide.
Business groups called the decision outrageous. Some legal experts described it as a far-reaching move that could signal the labor board’s willingness to hold many other companies to the same standard of “joint employer,” making businesses that use subcontractors or temp agencies at least partly liable in cases of overtime, wage or union-organizing violations. Read moreTweet