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Land, Rent and Whoppers

By Bob Brownstein

The Whopper of the Week is back! 

Nothing seems to bring out whoppers like city discussions about land and housing. Recent debates over the conversion of land from commercial to residential use and over renter protection policies (like rent control) vividly demonstrate this correlation.

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Madison Nguyen Courts Labor for Assembly Campaign

By The Left Hook

Former San Jose City Council member Madison Nguyen is set to launch her campaign for State Assembly to succeed Nora Campos in 2016.  She’s sending invitations for her May 29 kickoff to local labor leaders, hoping to gather their support along with some of the much less labor-friendly allies she has, including former Mayor Chuck Reed.

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Robert, 61 years old, a former engineer and known as the Mayor of the Jungle shows us the creative ways that people have built homes in the encampment. He says, 'This is perhaps the end of this particular land and this camp. But it's not the end of the people, it's not the end of the cause, its not the end of this system.'

Homelessness Study Reveals Some Unexpected Stats

By The Left Hook

It’s a startling number: $520 million.  That’s the annual cost of homelessness in Santa Clara County, according to a newly released study sponsored by Destination: Home.

What does that number account for? More than $300 Million is for health care…every year. $131 million in costs related to the justice system…every year, and social services run more than $77 million…every year.  More than 104,000  people experienced homelessness in the five year period that was examined.

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Nguyen’s Leadership Mailer Highlights Hypocrisy

By The Left Hook

Among the piles of campaign mail San Jose’s District 4 voters are receiving, one piece in particular caught our attention because of its striking hypocrisy.  On the mailer, candidate Manh Nguyen asserts that “great leadership starts at home,” showing photos of himself with his wife and three children on one side and a letter from the children praising their father as a “family man” on the other.  

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Policy Watch: Your weekly tip sheet for what’s going on in your community

By The Left Hook

Sunnyvale

Adopting Housing Impact Fee
To be heard: Wednesday, May 27, 7 pm Planning Commission

One Ordinance and Two Resolutions to Approve Two New Affordable Housing Impact Fees: Housing Impact Fee for Nonresidential Development and Housing Impact Fee for Rental Housing.  Recent Council direction to expand the Housing Mitigation Fee and to establish a new fee for rental housing developments requires amendments to the Sunnyvale Municipal Code. A draft ordinance and two resolutions have been prepared to make these changes.

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Recent Articles

22
May
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Labor Council in the Market for New Comms Director

By The Left Hook

The South Bay Labor Council’s Communications Director is taking off for a new adventure starting next month.  Stacey Hendler Ross came to the Labor Council three and a half years ago to help fight the good fight, and there were big wins, including the San Jose Minimum Wage hike, the Santa Clara County Living Wage ordinance and the election of Cindy Chavez to the County Board of Supervisors to name a few. Read more »

21
May
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Hyatt Workers March for Justice

By Sarah McDermott

Silicon Valley is booming, and it is service workers like those at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara that are making this boom possible. While the region’s top tech firms made a record $103 billion in profits in 2013, one in three Silicon Valley households does not make enough money to meet their most basic needs. It is literally a “Tale of Two Cities.”

But workers at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara are not just sitting idly by and letting this happen. Read more »

20
May
sunnyvale construction workers

Sunnyvale Moves to Ensure Good Quality, Local Jobs

By The Left Hook

The City of Sunnyvale continues on its path to do more to help improve the lives of working families in the South Bay.  City Council member Jim Davis deserves kudos for leading the way on a proposed ordinance that will ensure that large-scale private developments hire, employ and provide on-the-job training to apprentices.  Why is this so important?  Even during the current economic boom, there is a lack of middle-wage, career-path job opportunities.   And one out of every 25 low-wage workers in the state is in Santa Clara County.

Read more »

18
May
Loretta Sanchez

South Bay Dems Appalled by Sanchez’s Racist Remark

By The Left Hook

Rising star Ash Kalra, San Jose City Council member and CA Assembly candidate,  had the distinction of co-hosting the Indian American caucus reception at the state Dem Convention this past weekend.   Too bad it was marred by the outrageous gaffe made by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.   Kalra chose not to make a public statement on the insensitive blunder Sanchez made at the reception, but knowing Ash as we do we can guess he was nothing less than flabbergasted.  Watch it HERE. Read more »

18
May
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Poilcy Watch: Your weekly tip sheet for what’s going on in your community

By The Left Hook

San Jose

Recommendation to defer salary increase for City Council members

The Mayor and three councilmembers: Rocha, Kalra, and Carrasco are asking that the council defer action on giving themselves a raise until the City has finished its contract negotiations with City unions.  The City’s Salary setting commission recommended raises for the Mayor increasing his salary from $114,000 to $125,000 a year and council from $81,000 to $92,000.  The commission also recommended an increase in the stipend that non-City employee members of the retirement boards receive from $150 to $225 per meeting.   Read more »

15
May
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Does Facebook Hold the Key to Women’s Equality?

By Rachel Deutsch

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Wednesday with much fanfare that her company would require contractors to provide workers with a $15 minimum wage, 15 paid days off (including holidays), and paid time off or a cash benefit for new parents. She said the decision was targeted to uplift women, “because they comprise about two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationally [and] are particularly affected by wage adjustments.”  Facebook’s decision, spurred by pressure from workers and communities, is groundbreaking: never before has a Silicon Valley tech company acknowledged such broad responsibility for the wages and working conditions of its (predominantly black, brown and female) subcontracted workforce. But are these job standards the key to women’s equality?

Read more »

14
May
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Mayor’s New Press Secretary Cut Her Political Teeth in the Reagan Administration

By The Left Hook

Whoever said “Politics is a contact sport” probably didn’t mean it was literally a “sport,” but Mayor Sam Liccardo seems to have tapped the sports world for his new Public Information Officer.  Michelle Schmitt Young, a registered Republican,  spent the last four years as the Assistant Athletic Director in charge of Public Relations at Santa Clara University. (Go Broncos!)  Prior to that she worked at the University of South Carolina for 15 years, 5 as Assistant Director of Athletics.  You have to go way back to her military days, in the Army from 1985-1988, after high school and before college, to find her political experience.  Young worked in the White House Telecommunications Center in the White House Communications Agency during the Reagan Administration.  Young starts work at San Jose City Hall May 26.

 

 

14
May
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Facebook Contractor Policy Is a Start

By The Left Hook

The pressure on tech companies to take responsibility for low wage service contractors has been slow and steady but some are starting to respond.  The latest move is a decision by Facebook to establish an ethical standard for the wages and working conditions the employees of its US contractors. It’s a great start.  Facebook’s action should rapidly become a model for the entire tech industry.  But let’s be clear: even $15 an  hour is  not enough to live on in Silicon Valley. Read more »

11
May
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Policy Watch: Your weekly tip sheet for what’s going on in your community

By The Left Hook

San Jose

Renters’ rights and affordable housing

Two proposals are being put forward addressing the crisis facing renters in San Jose.

From Council member Peralez:  A prohibition against discrimination based on source of income (Section 8 and other housing subsidies).  Recommendations on improvements and a comprehensive analysis of the data and effectiveness of the City of San Jose’s Rental Rights and Referrals Program. Rent Control Modification. Read more »

9
May
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Economic Equity and Financial Stability Initiative

By Senator Bob Wieckowski

Fueled by a booming Silicon Valley, California’s economy is making tremendous strides since the Great Recession hit in late 2007. However, throughout the state, Californians have witnessed an era of vast income disparity.  Too many individuals and working families have not experienced the wage growth needed to keep up with the cost of living. Read more »

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