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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: http://sanjose.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=&event_id=2668&meta_id=611437

Link to agenda: http://sanjose.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?event_id=ab9181ab-2ca0-483f-86c6-30ab43f6864a

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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.

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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.

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US Supreme Court

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.

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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.

 

 

Recent Articles

9
Jan
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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:   http://sccgov.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=SplitView&MeetingID=8264&MediaPosition=&ID=84228&CssClass=

Link to agenda:   http://sccgov.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=8264

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20
Dec
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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.

19
Dec
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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.

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13
Dec
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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.

9
Dec
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WHOPPER: Johnny Khamis and the Case of the Fact-Free Zone

By Bob Brownstein

 

If you heeded the warnings that San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis and the California Restaurant Association (CRA) offered at the Council meeting last Tuesday, you probably rushed out in the last couple of days to buy as much steak as you can before the city’s new minimum wage sends restaurant prices through the roof.  That is, unless you’re a restaurant worker, in which case you’re saving every penny up before you get laid off when that same minimum wage increase disappears your job.

According to these prognosticators, the Council’s vote to raise San Jose’s minimum wage to $15 by 2019 will kill jobs and drive prices out of reach for average consumers.  Hmmm, where have we heard that before?

Not in the UC Berkeley study released on the same day about the effects of San Jose’s minimum wage hike in 2013. That study showed that the minimum wage hike currently in effect in San Jose resulted in zero job losses and an average 1.5% increase in restaurant prices – or about 15 cents on your $10 lunch.

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8
Dec
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Campbell Votes to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 by 2019

By The Left Hook

By a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, the Campbell City Council chose to raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2019.  The decision to increase the minimum wage sooner than mandated by the State of California was, in large part, led by Councilmember Jason Baker. Joining him in support of $15 by 2019 were Vice Mayor Liz Gibbons and Councilmember Michael Kotowski. Councilmembers Jeffrey Cristina and Paul Resnikoff opposed the increase. Campbell is the latest to join six other Santa Clara County cities in the regional effort to raise the wage.

30
Nov
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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.

28
Nov
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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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21
Nov
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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.

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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