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Early Fundraising Numbers are in for 2016 San Jose City Council Races

By David Urhausen

In District 2, there are two early front runners in Elias Portales and Sergio Jimenez.

Elias Portales leads the district with an impressive $35,777 raised in the month of December.  Mr. Portales has a good amount of funds available with $33,670.16 cash on hand.  Sergio Jimenez is next in the district with a respectable $17,005.16 raised in December, Mr. Jimenez was very efficient with the money raised, he still has $16,797.16 of that on hand.  Neither candidate has listed any debt.

Other candidates in the race are Joe Lopez and Steve Brown, both of whom had not begun raising money in December, and Henry Perry, who is yet to file his campaign report for December, which was due February 1st.

In District 4, only two candidates have opened campaign committees, Manh Nguyen and Lan Diep.

Current Councilmember Manh Nguyen has raised $17,060 in contributions and loaned himself another $1,000 in funds.  Mr. Nguyen currently sits at just over $18,000 cash on hand and just over $1,600 in accrued debt.  His opponent Lan Diep had not begun raising funds in December, he will not have to submit his first campaign report until March.

District 6 is shaping up to be the race to watch in the early going, the candidates did not disappoint as several turned in strong fundraising numbers for December. 

Leading the way for all City Council Candidates in San Jose is Erik Fong with $35,858 raised from contributions and another $5,000 in dollars he loaned from himself for a total of $40,858.  Mr. Fong has $38,113.05 cash on hand at the end of December, and $15,000 in accrued expenses between his loan and some consulting fees.  Coming in second is Norman Kline with $40,584 raised in contributions in December, Mr. Kline self-contributed $10,010, but unlike many other council candidates, the money he contributed is not a loan to his campaign.  He has $34,000 on hand and owes just over $7,000 from a fundraiser in December.  Rounding out the top three in total raised is Dev Davis, while only raising $12,375 in campaign contributions, she buoyed her campaign by loaning herself an additional $20,000.

Helen Chapman, Peter Allen, and Chris Roth also had successful months of December.  Ms. Chapman raised just over $16,000 in campaign contributions and loaned her campaign an additional $16,000 for a total of $32,054 raised in December.  While just outside the top 3 in total raised, Ms. Chapman’s fundraising was efficient as she has no accrued expenses listed, outside of her personal loan, and a little under $31,000 cash on hand.  Mr. Allen raised $26,433.32 in contributions and had $19,679.85 cash on hand, he has $11,000 in campaign consultant fees listed as accrued expenses in December.  Rounding out the pack is Chris Roth with $21,314 raised, he self financed $1,150 to his campaign, but like Kline, did not list the funds as a loan.  Roth has almost $21,000 on hand and has $4,200 listed as accrued expenses at the end of December.

Rueben Navarro and Myron Von Raesfeld have also filed campaign committees for D6, but neither had begun fundraising in December.

District 8 is our final competitive district.

Josh Barousse leads the way in contributions received for the District at $20,211.16 and has been extremely efficient, having spent no money and only listing $445 in accrued debts.  Jimmy Nguyen leads the way in total raised, with the help of a $10,000 loan from himself bringing his total raised to $24,276.  Mr. Nguyen has $23,684.14 on hand and his only debt is his personal loan.  Denise Belisle also had a decent December and raised $14,445 in contributions and another $5,000 from a personal loan to her campaign.  She has $18,600 cash on hand at the end of December.  Patrick Waite rounds out the December totals with a mere $1,000 raised, all from a personal loan.

Sylvia Arenas is the final candidate, so far, to have formed a campaign committee for D8, but she had not begun raising money in December.

District 10 is the only district to have an unopposed incumbent, Johnny Khamis.  

In December, he raised $26,650 and has $21,280 cash on hand.

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

By David Urhausen

County of Santa Clara

Reinstating Turner to complete Valley Medical Center retrofit; subsequent cost increase means add’l funding needed for other Measure A projects

Measure A authorized the County to borrow $840 million to fund the earthquake retrofitting of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and other hospital maintenance and refurbishing projects knows as the Seismic Safety Program. The pinnacle project of this program is the construction of a new 366,000 square foot 169-bed inpatient building, the construction of the north utility loop and energy plant, and upgrades to the central plant. The Project is roughly 85% complete. However, the County terminated Turner Construction’s right to coordinate the work on September 11, 2015 because in the County’s view Turner had breached the contract and had not satisfactorily taken steps to cure the situation.

On Friday, January 22, 2016, the County and Turner agreed to a change order to restart the project. The termination of Turner also impacted other projects in the Seismic Safety Program including the Services Building Replacement (SBR), replacing Old Main East/West with a new connector between the hospital facilities, and wayfinding and landscaping projects.  With the Bed Building Project delayed, the County has undertaken steps to install temporary utilities so the SBR project can move forward.  It should also be noted that restarting the Bed Building Project is likely to absorb a large portion of the unexpended budget in the program.  Thus projects not already substantially underway will likely have to be delayed until additional resources can be identified.

The San Jose Downtown Health Center construction project will be completed in early February. The County augmented the project with $650,000 from the General Fund to support late changes orders related to purchasing an emergency response radio system to guide emergency responders, complete site improvements, and resolve other changes that were deemed to be beyond the original scope of the construction contract. Once the project is turned over to the County, SCVMC will begin the process of installing furniture, fixtures, and equipment using $6.8 million from the General Fund. It is estimated the facility will open for services in April 2016.

Where: Santa Clara County Health and Hospital Committee

When:  Feb. 2, 2016, 2pm

Link to item:

Link to agenda:

City of San Jose

Introducing ¼ or ½ cent sales tax measure for June 2016 ballot

Council will discuss the results of a community survey for a potential revenue measure for the June 7, 2016 ballot, including consideration of a general purpose one-quarter percent or one-half percent retail transactions and use (“sales tax”) measure; and will discuss the process and procedure for introducing the measure.

Two alternate measures are presented for possible Council adoption: one for a ¼ cent tax (to raise ~$40M annually) and one for a ½ cent tax (to raise ~$80M annually).  If either one is adopted, it would be placed on the June 7, 2016 ballot.

The proposed ballot language is:

  • San José Local City Services  To fund city services such as: improving police response to violent crimes, burglaries, and other safety needs; improving 911/emergency medical/fire response times; repairing potholes and streets; maintaining parks; expanding gang prevention; and creating jobs through economic development, shall the City of San José enact a ¼ [or ½] percent sales tax for 9 years, providing about $40 million annually, requiring Independent Citizens Oversight with public review of spending, and all revenues controlled locally? (YES / NO)

Council will also adopt an updated Spending Priorities Plan (Attachment C) to provide high-level guidance for future Council and community budget discussions regarding the use of potential new revenues that might result from voter approval of a City revenue ballot measure.

Where:    San Jose City Council

When:  Feb. 9, 2016, 1:30p

Link to agenda:

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WHOPPER – To the Lying Fly: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

By Bob Brownstein

Usually, a Whooper column is written to expose a story or column that distorts information or presents a misleading narrative. Today, we shine the light of truth on a piece that does all of that PLUS it includes some utter stinkin’ indefensible flat out lies.

The article in question appears in San Jose Inside’s column, The Fly (1/27/16). Its title is, “County Funds Sales Tax Poll to Support Labor Council Agenda.”

After describing the poll that the county is considering, The Fly goes on to say, “South Bay Labor Council (SBLC) chief Ben Field had EMC (that’s the pollster) ask voters the same question last year, yielding less-than-favorable results.” In a single sentence, The Fly manages a double lie. First, the County poll asks voters in detail about a general tax and a general tax combined with an advisory vote. The SBLC poll included neither of these. Second, the SBLC poll generated astoundingly favorable results that suggested a special tax would pass, possibly with votes to spare.

Now, I want to give the folks at The Fly a chance to clear their name. So here’s my proposal. We’ll find some third party who everyone trusts and let them see the SBLC poll. If the poll includes the same questions as the county poll (that is – it tests a special tax, a general tax, and a combined tax), and if it produced results unfavorable to the SBLC, I’ll donate $1,000 to the charity of The Fly’s choice.  If the poll did not include the same questions, and it produced favorable results, The Fly Staff donates $1,000 to the non-profit of my choice. But in the spirit of full disclosure, my charity will be the VMC Foundation, which helps provide health care to low-income people of color. That’s a choice The Fly may not be able to stomach.

By the way, this article is full of other whopper-type distortions.

It implies that a $64 million program will shelter 6000 homeless. That amount would allocate about $10,700 per homeless person. What kind of shelter can you get in Santa Clara County for eleven thousand dollars?

Finally, it argues that the 1/8 cent sales tax for county services adopted in 2012 generated more money than the County needed. The genesis for this bizarre and misleading claim is that the Board of Supervisors allowed community groups to compete for $9.6 million of the first year’s tax proceeds. The Fly somehow neglects to mention that non-profits submitted proposals for projects costing tens of millions of dollars beyond the available $9.6 million. Almost all of these were for credible programs dealing with human needs ranging from senior services to diabetes prevention. The only way to argue the Measure A funds weren’t needed is if you believe life and death, and suffering and well-being, are all equivalent outcomes.

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Opportunity To Work Initiative – First of Its Kind in the Nation

By The Left Hook

Today, Silicon Valley Rising (SVR) filed the Opportunity to Work Initiative which would require employers to offer qualified part- time employees the opportunity to work additional hours before hiring new part-time or temporary employees.  It is the first initiative of its kind in the country.  Although San Francisco and SeaTac have adopted similar ordinances, no previous initiative has aimed to provide part-time employees access to more work hours.

The measure will help workers get access to available work hours so their paychecks cover the bills and put food on the table.  It will help prevent employers from hiring new part-time workers instead of giving more hours to current employees simply to avoid paying health insurance or other benefits.  And it will ensure that women who are qualified hourly workers, yet statistically receive fewer hours than their male counterparts, have access to more work.

Underemployment is a crisis in Silicon Valley and is placing working families in devastating financial instability.  Employees want to work more, but without access to more work hours, their ability to support their loved ones is limited.

The Opportunity to Work Initiative is a major step toward ensuring that the working families in Silicon Valley earn enough to not only meet their basic needs, but thrive.

Recent Articles


Lan Diep Announces Run for San Jose City Council

By The Left Hook

Attorney Lan Diep has just announced his run for the San Jose City Council District 4 seat.  Diep ran for the same seat in the 2015 special election, coming in third and missing the runoff by 13 votes.  The Republican, previously Chamber of Commerce backed candidate, could be a strong contender to unseat incumbent Manh Nguyen.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed gestures during the 8th Annual CEO Summit at IBM offices in San Jose, Calif., Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Reed Withdraws Pension Measure

By The Left Hook

Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has finally made a decision we can stand behind: he has withdrawn his floundering measure that attacks the retirement security of public workers in California.  Polls recently conducted showed waning support for the measure, making it impossible for Reed to drum up the $3 million dollars in financial support he needed to get the qualifying signatures. As we saw during his tenure as Mayor, Reed is hell-bent on eliminating protections for public workers, such as police officers and fire fighters, ultimately putting the safety and well-being of our city and state at risk.

While this is not the first time Reed has unsuccessfully attempted to put a pension measure on the ballot, hopefully it’s the last.


Chad Walsh Resigns from West Valley-Mission Community College

By The Left Hook

As predicted, conservative West Valley-Mission Community College District Board Member Chad Walsh has officially resigned. Walsh’s resignation, effective January 7, 2016, was received by the County Office of Education earlier this week.  The Board will now vote on whether to appoint a replacement within 60 days or hold a costly election.  The best bet is that the Board will appointment Walsh’s replacement on March 1st.


Beau Goldie – Trickling His Way Out of the Water District

By The Left Hook

Today when the Santa Clara Valley Water District posted a notice of a special Board meeting regarding “Discipline or Dismissal,” it could mean only one thing: Water District CEO Beau Goldie is on his way out.  Last year was filled with talk of Goldie’s mismanagement of the Water District and questionable decision-making when it came to awarding contracts.  Now it looks like Goldie’s fate has been sealed, but apparently Goldie is not going quietly.  Efforts to negotiate a smooth departure for the CEO have failed, and now the Water District Board is left with less diplomatic alternatives. Per today’s meeting, the Board will be moving forward with appointing an acting CEO.


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

By David Urhausen

City of San Jose

Agreement with San José Sports Authority

The San Jose Sports Authority (SJSA) is a nonprofit corporation formed in 1991 to promote San Jose as a location for high profile, marquee state, national and international sporting events and to develop and support existing sporting events and organizations in San Jose and the Bay Area.

The proposed agreement is a continuation of prior agreements with the SJSA. The term of the agreement is from July 1, 2015 until June 30, 2019, and is retroactive. Key activities required of SJSA include:

  • Serve as the City’s primary outside organization for contacting national governing bodies, institutions and professional organizations, sports promotion and domestic and international sports organizations, to solicit high-profile sporting events for San Jose.
  • Solicit funds through fund raising activities to support the SJSA and to underwrite events.
  • Inform local residents of sport activities taking place in the community, answer sports-related requests, create a more positive attitude among residents toward sporting events, and in general serve as a coordinating agency with other sports & community service groups.
  • Keep abreast of new marketing trends in sports entertainment which will improve San Jose’s position as a host city.
  • Explore local, regional, national and international publications for publicity opportunities describing San Jose and the surrounding area as a sporting event venue.
  • Maintain current active membership in national and state event and sports associations.
  • Design, purchase, provide and distribute the necessary books, pamphlets, brochures, circulars and such other promotional literature and materials to effectuate and implement a promotional program of the City.
  • Coordinate SJSA sponsored or sanctioned events and maintain a close working relationship with the City’s Office of Economic Development, Public Outreach Manager, Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department, authorized operators of City-owned facilities, Development, etc.

Read more »


Candidates Vie to Replace Rich Gordon in Assembly District 24

By The Left Hook

The race for California’s Assembly District 24 appears set, and there are several strong contenders looking to replace Assemblymember Rich Gordon.

  • Josh Becker ran against Assemblymember Gordon in 2010 when the seat was last open and made a good showing.  Mr. Becker, a venture capitalist and social entrepreneur, recently sold his business and should be able to devote substantial time, effort and resources to his campaign.
  • Vicki Veenker, a successful Silicon Valley patent attorney based in Palo Alto, is not only new to the political scene, but is the only woman running for the seat and is expected to raise substantial funds.
  • Current City of Palo Alto Councilmember Marc Berman. Berman was the Development Director at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, but recently left his job to focus on his campaign.  He has been actively campaigning for some time and already has raised a substantial amount of money.
  • Mountain View City Councilmember Mike Kasperzak Jr. is well known and has a base that he does not have to split with candidates from Palo Alto.
  • Menlo Park Councilmember Peter Ohtaki is the only Republican in the race so far.
  • Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang is waging another quixotic campaign.
  • Seelam Reddy is a retired engineer.

San Jose City Council District 2 & 6 Races Take Shape

By The Left Hook

As 2016 draws to a close, the fields for the San Jose City Council District 2 and 6 races appear to be largely set.

Current District 2 Councilmember Ash Kalra is terming out in November 2016 and is running for California State Assembly District 27.  Here’s a look at those vying to replace him:

  • Sergio Jimenez, an investigator at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office.  He has been an active community leader for many years and currently serves as Chairman of the San Jose Parks Commission representing City Council District 2.
  • Elias Portales is a lawyer who serves on the Bond Oversight Committee for the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District and has held several community positions in the past.
  • Former San Jose City Councilmembers Forrest Williams and Claude Fletcher are also rumored to be considering a run.
  • Finally, Steve Brown, a businessman and community activist, and Perry Henry, a System Administrator and leader of his Neighborhood Association, may throw their hats in the ring.

In stark contrast to District 2, San Jose’s District 6 has attracted a glut of candidates vying to replace outgoing Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio.  Here they are:

Read more »

Official Photo - Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski

Bankruptcy Reforms Needed to Help Californians Climb Their Way Out of Debt

By Senator Bob Wieckowski

New U.S. Census Bureau data show the Bay Area is booming, but rising housing costs and poverty rates are making the recovery a spectator sport for many people trying to pay their bills while eliminating their personal debt.  Incomes have increased, but rents have jumped way more, and owner-occupied housing has dropped in the region.  For most people, it’s hard to buy and keep a home.

For Californians in bankruptcy, it’s increasingly hard to hold onto a home too.   The public policy reason for allowing people to file for bankruptcy is to both provide the debtor with relief from crippling debt so that he/she can get a fresh start and to pay out creditors for some of the debt owed.  The goal is to make sure the debtor is not left with so little that he/she cannot pick him/herself up and recover from the bankruptcy.  But while home prices have climbed steadily over the past 40 years, the homestead exemptions in our bankruptcy code have remained flat, making it more difficult to rebound financially coming out of bankruptcy.

It doesn’t need to be this way.

Read more »

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Chad Walsh Rumored to Resign from West Valley-Mission Community College District

By The Left Hook

Rumor has it that conservative West Valley-Mission Community College District Board Member Chad Walsh’s resignation is on the horizon.  We wonder why he is making such a sudden move.  Just recently, Walsh campaigned vigorously for fellow conservative Steve Landau to take an open seat on the Board, turning away a more qualified candidate, Randi Kinman.  One possible reason for Walsh’s departure is his inability to work with the College’s chancellor, Patrick Schmitt.  Hopefully, with Walsh gone, the vacancy will attract some well qualified candidates.



Rose Herrera’s Next Step?

By The Left Hook

When the Santa Clara County Water District Board appointed former Morgan Hill Mayor John Varela to fill the Board seat vacated by Dennis Kennedy, who is battling cancer, they probably were not looking ahead to the 2016 election, but one potential candidate was.  Apparently, San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, who will be termed out at the end of 2016, is already talking about running against Varela next fall.

This could be quite a battle. Herrera opposed raising the San Jose minimum wage to $10 and championed illegal pension reform.  Varela, on the other hand, was appointed by Labor-friendly Water District Board members.  It is unclear where Herrera will draw support for the race, but she is known as an aggressive fundraiser, who is not shy about reminding potential donors that she has a vote on the San Jose City Council.

With Water District CEO Beau Goldie on his way out, the District could certainly use some leadership stability.  Few, if any, of the District Board members want to see Rose Herrera elected.  Expect to see a majority of them rally around Varela.


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