Skip to content

Policy Watch: Week of 2/13

By David Urhausen

Santa Clara County

Report on ordinance to prevent discrimination against renters with Section 8 vouchers

At the February 7, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, the County Counsel presented a recommended ordinance to ensure that all persons with the ability to pay for housing, whether through their own funds or using a subsidy such as Section 8, are considered for housing. By adopting the proposed recommendation, the County would join dozens of jurisdictions that proscribe rental discrimination based on income source, and help to promote access to housing for all. This item is a committee report on that ordinance.

Where: Santa Clara County Housing, Land Use, Environment, and Transportation Committee

When:  February 16, 2017, 10am, Board of Supervisors’ Chambers

Link to agenda:


Valley Transportation Authority

Feedback on draft guidelines for Measure B funding

Beginning next week, VTA advisory committees will get their first look at the proposed guidelines for carrying out dozens of transportation projects slated for 2016 Measure B funding.

Starting Wednesday, February 8, VTA Planning staff will present draft guidelines for the Bicycle & Pedestrian, Caltrain Corridor Capacity Improvements, and Caltrain Grade Separation Program Areas to VTA’s Congestion Management Program and Planning Committee (CMPP) and four advisory committees –Policy (PAC), Technical (TAC), Citizens (CAC) and Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committees (BPAC).

Where: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

When: mulitple

Link to item:


City of San Jose

Councilmembers proposing issues for Priority Setting; incl. development policies near BART stations, public notice on land use proposals, public art fee, anti-displacement ordinance & more

Approve requests to agendize for City Council consideration during the City Council’s Priority Setting Session on February 28, 2017:

  • Revision to Council Policy 6-30. (Nguyen)
    1. A revision to Council Policy 6-30, Public Outreach Policy for Pending Land Use and Development Proposals to start the community engagement process sooner and better target neighborhoods that will be impacted for feedback
  • Build a Better BART Initiative. (Diep)
    1. Exploration of incentives and policies to attract commercial development near future BART stations
    2. Exploration of policies that will support the development of 100% deed restricted affordable housing near future BART stations; and
    3. Updating the citywide commercial development design guidelines (which have not been updated since 1989) and downtown design guidelines (which have not been updated since 2004) to create vibrant neighborhoods near transit
  • Personal Care Business (Massage Parlor) Compliance Initiative. (Peralez)
    1. An update to the San José Municipal Code (SJMC) requiring all personal care businesses that provide any form of massage services to provide a “state registration certification” and any required permits to be approved prior to receiving the City’s business tax certificate
  • SPUR Work Items. (Peralez)
    1. To augment the nominated Priority Setting item entitled “Priority Response to SPUR and Staff Identified Work Items”
  • Private Percent for Art Ordinance. (Carrasco)
    1. To explore a Private Percent for Art Ordinance. — 1% investment set aside for public art on new capital construction
  • Garage Conversion Ordinance. (Carrasco)
    1. To explore a Garage Conversion Ordinance to establish procedures whereby owner-occupants of single-family residential real property on which certain illegal garage conversions now exist would have a limited time to seek to legalize converted garages.
  • Anti-Displacement Preference Ordinance. (Carrasco)
    1. To explore the development of policy that will allow a set-aside in affordable housing developments that prioritizes residents who are being displaced that live in low-income neighborhoods undergoing displacement and/or gentrification.

Where: Public entity: San Jose Rules Committee

When: Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017, 1:30pm, W118-120

Link to agenda:  

Study session for proposed Community Choice Energy program – estimated over 100 additional jobs and $11.5M in labor income

Receive an update on the findings of the draft business plan for San José Clean Energy, and Continue to prepare City Council for a decision on whether to proceed with San José Clean Energy at the March 28, 2017 Council meeting.

Key Findings: Economic Development

SJCE could have a variety of economic development benefits within San José, such as through special economic development rates to incentivize manufacturing or job growth related to the local solar development. The estimated $23 million in electric bill savings to residents and businesses each year (full operation) under SJCE alone is estimated to result in:

  • Over 100 additional jobs in the San José area
  • $11.5 million in labor income
  • $18.5 million total value added

Next Steps: Following the Council Study Session on February 13, staff intends to host a community outreach meeting and incorporate both Council and public feedback into a final Business Plan and into Council recommendations for SJCE. Staff will return to Council in March/April 2017 with a recommendation on next steps.

Where:  San Jose Council Study Session

When:  Monday, Feb 13, 2017, 1:30pm, Council Chambers

Link to agenda:


City of Sunnyvale

Council priority setting for 2017 

Annual Council meeting to vote on priority policy and budget issues for the year. Council packet is not yet posted.

Where: Sunnyvale City Council

When: Feb. 17, 2017, 8:30 am

Link to agenda:


San Jose Evergreen Community College

Support Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) And Other Vulnerable Students  

The original resolution presented to the board on January 10 has been updated to include other vulnerable populations as a result of President Trump’s executive order banning refugees into the U.S. and limiting the migration of people from 7 Muslim-majority countries.

Where: SJECCD Board of Trustees

When:  02/14, 6:00pm at SJECCD Board Room

Link to agenda:


Gavilan College Board

Resolution in support of undocumented students

The Board will discuss a possible resolution stating the district’s support and commitment to undocumented students, and what language should be included in such a resolution. Following Board direction, a final resolution will be brought to the March Board meeting for review and approval.

Where: Gavilan College Board

When: 02/14, 7:00pm at Coyote Valley Site

Link to agenda packet:,%202017%20agenda%20packet.pdf


Santa Clara County Board of Education

Public hearing on Rocketship Alma Academy Charter

On January 20, 2017, the Charter Schools Office of the Santa Clara County Office of Education received a Petition for Renewal for Rocketship Alma Academy, a countywide K-5 charter school which serves 558 students and is located in the San Jose Unified School District.  Rocketship Alma Academy was approved on November 16, 2011, as Rocketship 7, and opened its doors during the fall of 2012.  If approved, Rocketship Alma Academy shall be renewed for five more years beginning July 2017 through June 30, 2022.


When: 02/15, 7:00pm at SCCBOE

Link to agenda:

Resolution in support of SCC undocumented students and families

Resolution designed to affirm support for undocumented students and families through the federal protections currently in place. It identifies SCCOE schools and programs as safe havens for student and their families and that information and training regarding the applicable laws will be shared with staff, families, and community partners.


When:  02/15, 7:00pm at SCCBOE

Link to agenda:

Resolution in support of the Dream Act

The Federal DREAM Act, first introduced in Congress in 2001, is a bipartisan legislation that opens the possibility of higher education, as well as a conditional pathway to US citizenship, for undocumented students who were brought to the US as children. The Santa Clara County Board of Education reaffirms its support of this legislation because of the impact it has for undocumented students and families.


When: 02/15, 7:00pm at SCCBOE

Link to agenda:


Cupertino Unified School District

Discussion on communication with community regarding safe haven for immigrant students

The board will discuss possible actions that may reduce the stress our immigrant families are facing as a result of the national elections and actions recently taken by President Trump.  Possible solutions presented include a Board Resolution, a letter to the community and/or resources posted on our District website for our families.

Where: CUSD Board

When: 02/14, 6:00pm at Stevens Creek Elementary

Link to agenda packet:

Supervisor Dave Cortese’s State of the County Speech

By The Left Hook

I’m calling 2017 the Year of Compassion.

The first ingredient of compassion is acceptance. We do not tolerate people here in Santa Clara County, we accept and embrace them. Whether they are members of our LGBTQ community seeking civil rights, or refugee children seeking asylum,  women seeking equity, immigrants seeking a path to citizenship, the indigent seeking health care, the elderly seeking retirement security, or Muslims seeking religious freedom and peace, or the chronically homeless seeking a roof over their heads.

Read more

Milpitas Joins Regional Effort to Increase Minimum Wage

By The Left Hook

Tonight, the Milpitas City Council voted 4 to 0 to raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2019, three years sooner than mandated by the State of California. Workers in the City will see their first raise in July of this year.  Voting in support of $15 by 2019 were Council Members Marsha Grilli, Anthony Phan, Bob Nuñez and Mayor Rich Tran. Council Member Garry Barbadillo had to leave the meeting prior to the vote.

Milpitas is the seventh city in Santa Clara County to join the regional effort to raise the wage for workers struggling to survive in the extraordinary expensive Silicon Valley. This regional approach, including today’s vote in Milpitas, means that more than 80% of county’s population is covered by an increased minimum wage.

Khamis v. Liccardo for Mayor?

By The Left Hook

The rumor around City Hall is that Republican Council Member Johnny Khamis is considering running for Mayor against Sam Liccardo in 2018. Is it no surprise that Council veteran Khamis was hoping to be appointed Vice Mayor and was handed a blow when Liccardo bowed to the political reality of a more progressive City Council by appointing Magdalena Carrasco instead.  While this slight might be the motivator in inspiring Khamis to run against his often-time ally, perhaps Khamis is making the move because he sees his clout on the Council diminishing as a more progressive majority sets the Council agenda.

New San Jose City Council Passes Crucial Change to Rent Control Ordinance

By The Left Hook

Yesterday, the San Jose City Council voted on a critical change to the banking component of the City’s rent control law. The original ordinance, passed by the previous Council, allowed landlords who did not raise the rent in a given year to save or “bank” the unused rent increase and apply it at a future date. With a vote of 7-4, the City Council eliminated banking.  Mayor Liccardo, and Council Members Chappie Jones, Johnny Khamis and Dev Davis were the dissenting votes.

Additionally, the Council voted 8-3 to keep the City’s rent registry, which is used to track rents in rent-controlled units in an effort to ensure landlords are complying with the regulations. Council Members Dev Davis, Johnny Khamis and Lan Diep were opposed.

Tuesday’s votes indicate a shift in San Jose’s City Council, with a progressive majority leading the agenda for the first time in more than a decade. This change in the ideological make-up of the Council will be imperative as San Jose moves to increase the middle class, create better jobs, protect its most vulnerable communities and pass policies that help working families thrive in Silicon Valley.

Recent Articles


Policy Watch: Week of 2/6

By The Left Hook

Santa Clara County

Direction on contracting and business license policies to combat wage theft and pay inequity

The committee will receive a report on four recommendations to improve pay equity:

  • Improving pay equity reporting practices for directly-hired employees of the County.
  • Terminating current contractors and disqualifying bidders for violating equal opportunity and nondiscrimination laws.
  • Regulating businesses in unincorporated areas of the County by requiring business licenses, and making these contingent on compliance with pay equity laws.
  • Adding baby changing stations in men’s restrooms in County facilities and in buildings open to the public in the unincorporated County.

Read more »


Policy Watch: Week of 1/30

By The Left Hook

County of Santa Clara

Special hearing on hate crimes

The Committee will convene a special meeting on issues related to hate crimes in light of the 2016 Presidential election, and determine the next steps for developing a hate crimes communication and services plan. The hearing will have panel presentations on public safety, civil rights, race and religion, education, and LGBTQ issues. The panels will be followed by a public comment period, and then the hearing will conclude with a discussion by the Committee and the Hate Crimes Hearing Body.

Public entity:  Santa Clara County Children, Seniors, and Families Committee

Date/time/location item will be heard:  January 31, 2017, 6:30pm, Board of Supervisors’ Chambers

Link to item: Not yet posted

Link to agenda:

Read more »


Policy Watch: Week of 1/16

By The Left Hook

City of San Jose

Appointing Vice Mayor

Council will be voting on the Mayor’s recommended appointment of a member of the Council to serve as Vice Mayor. The Mayor has not yet announced who he will nominate.

Where: San Jose City Council

When: January 24, 2017, 1:30pm

Link to item:

Link to agenda:

Read more »


Defeated Council Candidate Jimmy Nguyen Attempts to Cast Doubt on Voting Process

By The Left Hook

The 2016 election cycle seems to have carved out a new path for candidates who don’t like the outcome of their races: they sue.  Both former Council Member Mahn Nguyen and his political ally, recently defeated Council candidate Jimmy Nguyen, say they are moving forward with lawsuits against the Registrar of Voters after losing their election bids.

Strangely, Jimmy Nguyen is not suing to change the outcome of the election. He does not even claim that correcting legal problems with the ballot counts would result in him being declared the winner.  His goal appears to be political, not legal.  He seeks to undermine voter confidence in the election itself.  Having now run and lost twice, he may see this Trumpian tactic as a set up for yet another run for office.

Who would advise Jimmy Nguyen that attempting to cast doubt on the integrity of the election was a wise decision? That would be his legal counsel Jim Sutton, who was also former State Senator Leland Yee’s Campaign Treasurer when Yee was indicted for bribery, taking illegal cash contributions and corruption.

Mahn Nguyen’s strategy appears to be similar to Jimmy’s.  Manh Nguyen is rumored to be considering a move to Council District 7, where he would run against incumbent Council Member Tam Nguyen in two years.  Presumably Mahn Nguyen would claim that last year’s election, which he lost to Lan Diep, was actually stolen.


Policy Watch: Week of 1/9

By The Left Hook

County of Santa Clara

Report on County contracting policies, including pay equity, living wage, DBE contracting & Ariba implementation

The Committee will receive a report on Countywide contracting, including proposed policy revisions and contract language related to Pay Equity and Living Wage policies. The proposed living wage changes include an expansion of applicable solicitation types covered by the policy to all formal competitive procurement methods, as well as updates to the table of living wage rates.

Where:    Santa Clara County Finance and Government Operations Committee

When:  January 12, 2017, 2:00 pm, Board of Supervisors’ Chambers

Link to item:

Link to agenda:

Read more »


How Can the Federal Government Help Workers: Get Out of the Way

By Ben Field

At the behest of big corporations, the federal government has all but taken away the freedom of workers to organize in order to get their fair share.  When workers lack the freedom to organize, wages stagnate, the middle class shrinks and inequality soars.  Contrary to Republican dogma, it is workers and not businesses who are over-regulated.  American workers are crying out, not only for a social safety net, not only for good jobs, but for control over their future.

Read more »


The Coming Attack on Labor and its Allies

By Ben Field

This year organized labor dodged a bullet when Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left the Supreme Court tied in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.  If Scalia had lived, the Court would have decided in Friedrichs that public sector workers cannot be required to pay for the services they receive from the union that represents the employees at their workplace. The decision to authorize workers to stop paying for services from which they benefit, like contract negotiations, and force unions to provide those services for free would have created a massive free rider problem for unions.

Unfortunately, for organized labor, Friedrichs is coming back under a different name:  Janus v. AFSCME.  In both cases, workers argued that requiring them to pay for union services violated their First Amendment right to free speech.  The Supreme Court will almost certainly hear the case and could decide it as soon as 2018.  President Trump will fill Scalia’s seat on the Court with a like-minded conservative, and that will mean organized labor will lose Janus.

A loss in Janus could cause a massive drop in union membership with dramatic collateral damage to progressive institutions and the democratic process itself.  Many progressive leaders are elected on the strength of union grassroots organizing and money.  Janus could decimate that source of progressive support.  Labor and its allies had better be ready.


Annual Labor Movement Holiday Party Brings Cheer to Thousands of Santa Clara County Families

By The Left Hook

For more than 30 years the Labor Movement Holiday Party has brought holiday cheer and visits from Santa to thousands of Santa Clara County children and their families.  This year’s celebration was no exception. The Labor Movement Holiday Party provided gifts, pictures with Santa, lunch, face painting, tokens to play games and live music to hard working families with limited resources.  The event, which took place at Pavilion Hall at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, was made possible by the South Bay Labor Council, Working Partnerships USA, local residents and businesses and Toys for Tots.

At a time when many Silicon Valley families are struggling to meet their most basic needs, the Labor Movement Holiday Party was an opportunity for local unions to bring together thousands of County residents and spread Holiday joy.


Policy Watch: Week of 12/19

By The Left Hook

City of Gilroy

Declaring vacancy on City Council to be filled by Council appointment

Council will be declaring a vacancy on City Council as a result of former Council member Roland Velasco’s election to Mayor, and directing staff to post a notice of intention to advertise and fill the vacancy. Former Council member Velasco’s term was set to expire in November 2018. If Council does not appoint a new member to Council within 30 days after the vacancy is declared, a special election will be held to fill this vacancy.

Read more »


Yet Another Recount in District 8 Race

By The Left Hook

Jimmy Nguyen, candidate for San Jose City Council’s District 8 seat, has requested a manual recount of all the votes cast in the race. In a letter  sent to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, Nguyen also asks for the opportunity to see “all rejected vote-by-mail and provisional ballot envelopes, all defective or ‘spoiled’ ballots which were remade by Registrar staff…and all tally sheets and other documentation from the automatic manual recount.”

Earlier this month, the Register of Voters certified the District 8 election results and, according to their website, Sylvia Arenas bested Nguyen by 97 votes.

Nguyen, who submitted his request just in time for today’s deadline, will have to pay for this recount himself. Owing to Nguyen’s wide ranging recount request, the Registrar estimates that it will cost nearly $77,000. The District 8 winner, Sylvia Arenas, has asserted her right to a recount in response to Nguyen’s filing.


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: