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Council Member-Elect Sergio Jimenez Takes His Seat at City Hall

By The Left Hook

Yesterday, San Jose City Councilmember-elect Sergio Jimenez was appointed to fill the District 2 vacancy that will be left after Councilmember Ash Kalra heads to the State capitol for his new role as Assembly Member. Kalra, who won California’s 27th Assembly District race will take office in early December, approximately one month before his term as Council Member is up.

To ensure that District 2 is represented through the month of December, Jimenez will cover the remaining term of office which expires on December 31, 2016 before being sworn-in as District 2’s Council Member in January 2017.

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Policy Watch: Week of 11/28

By The Left Hook

City of San Jose

Liccardo / Peralez memo proposing extension of downtown residential high-rise incentives

Mayor Liccardo and Council Member Peralez are requesting that the Rules Committee agendize for City Council deliberation on December 13, 2016, to direct the City Manager to extend the Downtown High-Rise Incentive Program for new construction of residential buildings of at least 12-stories in height for the next 1,500-units (including existing allocations) in the Downtown Growth Area, as defined by the Planned Growth Area Diagram in the Envision 2040 San José General Plan.

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Sylvia Arenas Wins District 8 Seat

By The Left Hook

As The Left Hook predicted based on voting trends, Sylvia Arenas has secured a victory in the race for the San Jose City Council District 8 seat. After nearly two weeks, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters tallied the last vote, solidifying Arenas’s lead and earning her a place on the City Council.

The margin by which Arenas won triggers an automatic recount, but seldom if ever has a recount changed the outcome of an election. The recount is scheduled to begin next week.

 

 

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Sylvia Arenas Headed to Victory in District 8

By The Left Hook

The neck and neck race for San Jose City Council’s District 8 seat appears to have a winner: Sylvia Arenas. Arenas is currently up 88 votes and with less than 300 votes left to be counted, it is nearly impossible for the results to sway in her opponent’s favor. Since Election Day, the margin between Arenas and Jimmy Nguyen has been tight, but today, as the last votes are processed, Arenas continues to grow her lead over Nguyen and seems to be headed to a seat at the San Jose City Hall Chamber.

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San Jose Votes for a $15 Minimum Wage by 2019 in Response to Community Pressure

By The Left Hook

Yesterday, the San Jose City Council voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2019, three years before the state of California reaches that standard. San Jose — the 10th largest city in the nation— is the latest to join five other Santa Clara County cities in a regional effort to raise the wage.

In the wake of the successful 2012 campaign to raise the minimum wage in San Jose, community support built to raise the wage in other South Bay cities.  Mountain View and Sunnyvale moved to raise the wage to $15 an hour by 2018 and other cities started to follow suit.  The Cities Association of Santa Clara County took up the cause by advancing a regional standard of $15 an hour by January 2019.  Los Altos, Palo Alto and Cupertino and have since voted for $15 by 2019.

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Labor Wins Big in Local General Elections

By The Left Hook

Bucking the national trend local Labor-backed candidates and measures did extraordinarily well in Tuesday’s election.  Here’s a recap:

In what was one of the most contested and expensive races in San Jose, Ash Kalra won his bid for Assembly District 27, surpassing his opponent Madison Nguyen by nearly 5,000 votes and counting.  Charter schools, a primary funder of Nguyen’s, and other outside interest groups spent $5 million against Kalra. Despite all the money spent attacking him, Kalra, who has an impeccable record of fighting for working people, pulled off one of the largest political come-from-behind victories in South Bay history.

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21
Nov
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Policy Watch: Week of 11/21

By The Left Hook

City of San Jose

Approving amending the Minimum Wage Ordinance to reach $15 by July 2019 & adding exemption for youth under 18

Recommended action: Approve an ordinance amending the San José Municipal Code relating to Minimum Wage.

On November 15, 2016, City Council directed staff to return on November 29, 2016 with an ordinance to modify the existing minimum wage ordinance as follows:

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14
Nov
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Policy Watch- Week of 11/14

By The Left Hook

Santa Clara County

Approving authority to purchase property interest in the San Jose Marriott hotel from the former Redevelopment Agency

The Property is currently comprised of a 510-room, 27-story hotel that provides many benefits to the public and the San José downtown economy, not to mention the many jobs provided to service the hotel.  The Real Property Interest is being offered for direct sale by the Successor Agency pursuant to the Redevelopment Dissolution Law and Oversight Board’s Disposition Process.

Acquisition of the Real Property Interest by the County would ensure these benefits are maintained for many years to come.  Just like the Successor Agency, the County would not have any obligation over the management and operations of the hotel, apart from ensuring the hotel owner maintains the property as a first-class hotel.

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2
Nov
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Vote Now to Save a Life

By The Left Hook

As the election campaign enters its final week, many are fatigued, but none so much as Labor Council Political Director David Urhausen, who has been running the South Bay’s largest, most sophisticated field campaign 24×7 for over two months.  To his credit, the campaign has contacted well over 100,000 voters, and convinced many of them to support good causes and candidates.  How has he managed this feat of political organizing?  The answer, in part, is found in the photo above.

Simply by pushing the button photographed above Urhausen is able to place an emergency order of Red Bull, and he has been pushing the button pretty often.  The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that the daily consumption of five cans of Red Bull (or other similar energy drink) does not raise safety concerns for the general healthy adult population.  Unfortunately, Urhausen is dangerously close to surpassing that limit.

Here’s what you can do to help.  Vote and tell your friends to vote.  The sooner this election is over the less likely that Urhausen succumbs to a toxic overdose of Red Bull.  Vote now to save a life.

31
Oct
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Policy Watch: Week of 10/31

By The Left Hook

City of San Jose

Modifying resolution policy to limit City Council’s actions on national issues, plus letter in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

As recommended by the Rules Committee on October 19, Council will consider amending the Resolution policy to allow Councilmembers to issue letters individually or collectively representing their position, and not the Council position, on an issue which is outside the purview of the Council.  The proposed revisions would limit the Council from being able to pass resolutions on national issues which may not directly be municipal matters. Original policy was adopted in 1979.

New letter from Mayor Liccardo and Councilmembers Herrera, Peralez, Carrasco, and Jones in support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline Project; and updated resolution.

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31
Oct
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WHOPPER: WATCH OUT FOR THE UNETHICAL GUARDIANS OF POLITICAL ETHICS!!

By Bob Brownstein

Most of us know that the Mercury News has a long and shameful history of misusing its role as a critic of sleazy campaign advertisements or mailings. Basically, it expresses outrage at anything that tarnishes its preferred candidates and whitewashes the attacks on those it opposes.

Scott Herhold’s recent column on the “nasty shots” of 2016 is one more incident in this malodorous tradition. Herhold launches his strongest criticism against campaign materials issued on behalf of Mike Honda and Ask Kalra.

My first observation is that – by pure coincidence – these candidates are both vehemently opposed by the Mercury News. A corollary observation is that this type of coincidence has been going on for decades.

But my second observation is of greater interest. The “nasty” attacks that Herhold lambastes appear to be accurate. You know… the truth…what newspapers are supposed to be committed to. Let’s examine the facts.

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20
Oct
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How can Californians best support Clinton? Cross the border.

By Peter Leroe-Munoz

It should come as little surprise that Hillary Clinton is well-positioned to gain California’s fifty-five electoral votes on November 8, given the state’s strong Democrat registration advantage and diverse demographics. In fact, the pollsters at FiveThirtyEight estimate she has a 24.9% lead over Donald Trump, pegging her chances of state victory at 99.9%.

If the race for California is already decided, what can Golden State residents do – in addition to voting – to support Clinton? Volunteer in Nevada.

This past weekend, I drove Reno and walked door-to-door in several neighborhoods in support of Hillary. The Silver State presents a much closer race, where Clinton presently holds a 4% advantage in polls. The strategy of the campaign organizers is to ensure  supporters vote on Election Day, if not sooner.

Armed with a clipboard and campaign literature, I spent hours knocking on doors, answering voter questions about polling locations, and even recruited a few people to volunteer for future outreach efforts. It was rewarding to connect with people, and re-humanize an election that Trump has turned nasty and disheartening.

When my time in Reno came to a close, I debriefed with a local volunteer in the office headquarters. She thanked me for making the trip, and noted that many of the weekend’s volunteers traveled up from California. While driving home on I-80, I passed several vehicles with California plates and Hillary bumper stickers. We shared a quick wave and a smile. Together we had been part of a larger effort.

As you think about how you want to participate in this year’s election, consider traveling to Nevada. You can contribute to an important campaign in a critical battleground state.

By Peter Leroe-Muñoz Vice Mayor of the City of Gilroy

10
Oct
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Policy Watch: Week of 10/10

By The Left Hook

City of San Jose

San Jose: Potential changes to Affordable Housing Impact Fee; KMA report released; exempted projects so far would have brought in $112M in fees 

Provide recommendations to staff regarding the following recommended changes to the Affordable Housing Impact Fee (AHIF):

  1. Add an exemption to change the threshold size of rental projects to which the AHIF applies from three (3) units to 20 units;
  2. Reduce the existing housing impact fee by $4.00 per square foot for mixed residential/commercial market-rate rental projects receiving all Planning Permits by the earlier of January 31, 2020 or adoptionof a new Urban Village plan, in which the commercial square footage equals of each building exceeds eight percent (8%) of the project’s square footage for the projects in the Downtown and Diridon Station areas and the following urban villages: Valley Fair/Santana Row, West San Carlos, The Alameda, East Santa Clara Street, Roosevelt Park; and
  3. Amend the provisions exempting For-Sale projects from the AHIF to make the standard consistent with the staff report and the adopted AHIF regulations and the adopted Inclusionary Housing guidelines

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5
Oct
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Groundbreaking workforce standards on VTA’s Tamien project

By Louise Auerhahn

Billions of dollars in public and private funds are pouring into our region to fuel Silicon Valley’s development boom. But the boom is a double-edged sword: without enough middle-class jobs for our community, long-time residents are being priced out.

We urgently need innovative ways to leverage this development and ensure it leaves a lasting investment in expanded opportunity. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is pioneering an approach to public-private development that is poised to provide an important new model.

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29
Sep
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San Jose Workers Rally Against High Rise Developers

By The Left Hook

Today, more than 1,000 local construction trade workers gathered to rally against developers and land speculators like KT Urban for failing to hire local skilled workers and pay them middle-class family sustainable wages. KT Urban is currently developing its latest high-rise, luxury condominium project, Silvery Towers, in downtown San Jose.

Workers also urged San Jose elected officials to create good public policy that holds developers accountable to hire local workers, pay a family sustainable wage and support apprenticeship and veteran’s job creation efforts.

While development is booming, companies like KT Urban are exploiting workers and making it increasing difficult for our local construction trade workers to support their families and meet their basic needs.

26
Sep
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Policy Watch: Week of 9/26

By The Left Hook

Santa Clara County

Creating Oversight Committee for Measure A Housing Bond; Counsel advised to not include Assessor or a housing advocate

On August 16, the Board of Supervisors directed Administration to draft an ordinance to establish an independent citizens’ oversight committee for the Housing Bond.  The attached ordinance meets the Board’s referral, with two exceptions.

First, to ensure full independence of the Committee, and based on feedback from bond counsel, best practices counsel against naming any officer or employee of the organization as a member of the Committee.  Accordingly, the proposed Ordinance does not include the Assessor and in his place includes a member of the general public.  Second, given the focus of the Housing Bond, the Administration recommends that the “housing advocate” member of the committee be replaced by “an affordable/supportive housing professional.”  The proposed Ordinance also prohibits alternates from serving on the Committee.

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