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And They’re Off!

Sports fans, the paper chase is on! FPPC reports are rolling out for San Jose, Santa Clara County and the State Legislature. We’re compiling total contributions and expenditures to date as they get released and we promise to update you over the weekend as we review interesting contributions and eyebrow-raising expenditures. Read more »


How to Have Your Cake and ….Well, Maybe Not

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is drawing the ire of the San Jose Mayor.  The title and summary of Reed’s proposed statewide pension  initiative explains to voters how the measure would “eliminate constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree health benefits for current public employees.”

Mayor Chuck Reed plans to sue the Attorney General over the wording. Read more »


On the Verge of a New California Electorate

While Tea Partyers in Congress ground our federal government to a halt last fall, California is in the process of moving from a state that many once thought “ungovernable” to one that’s arguing about what to do with our budget surplus.

And contrary to the media elites who often blame voters for creating our problems in California, we are turning things around as a result of fuller participation by more and more people, not by restricting democracy.

But we still have a long way to go. Read more »


It’s About Turn-Out, Stupid

For over 30 years many of us have engaged in a dispute with our political party.  Not over values; but over tactics. The dirty little secret is that Democrats should never lose an election. There have always been more Democrats than Republicans and if we got a majority of those people registered and turned out to vote; we can’t lose.

But for years the major emphasis of our party strategists among the DNC, DSCC and DCCC is to compete for almost nonexistent swing voter by utilizing our resources to persuade people. One can only weep for the millions of dollars wasted on persuasion campaigns that were lost, that should have been won if the money had been spent correctly. Read more »


Board of Education Has a Responsibility to Be Informed

In his recent blog post for San Jose Inside, Santa Clara County School Board Trustee, Joseph Di Salvo, who voted to deny Navigator Schools’ appeal, asserted that the school board members, district staff, teachers, classified employees, parents, and community members who e-mailed and spoke publicly are “adults who wish to continue the unsustainable status quo in education.”

Trustee DiSalvo is entrusted with the duty to be diligent on behalf all students in the county.  This responsibility demands an understanding of all parts of the educational community.  As a former public school educator, he should have some understanding of the training necessary to prepare teachers for new initiatives like the Common Core State Standards.  Read more »


Starbucks’ Greed Versus San Jose’s Living Wage

The San Jose City Council will decide today whether to condone corporate greed and poverty-level wages for workers or apply city law to Starbucks and a large developer who want to lease property at the San Jose Convention Center.  San Jose would normally require businesses leasing the property to pay employees a living wage, but the City Manager’s Office recommends an exemption for Starbucks and the developer because, among other reasons, the businesses “have indicated to City staff that imposing any wage policy requirements in [their] leases…creates financial and competitive hardships in the operation of their respective businesses.” Read more »


Common Interests Make Stronger Advocates

For many people not familiar with Silicon Valley policy and politics, this may seem less like a “Left Hook” and more like something out of “Left Field.”

Brace yourself. In Silicon Valley, the business community and the labor community work together much more often than we work against each other.  At a minimum, that is certainly the case when it comes to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the South Bay Labor Council.

Since words are cheap, let’s consider the work: Read more »


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

San Jose

 Living Wage comes back to Council

As we told you last week, the San Jose City Council is bringing back potential changes to the Living Wage Policy. Councilmembers took to memos on Friday to telegraph their arguments. A quick refresher on the subject; the Council is considering a change to the Living Wage Policy to eliminate the requirement to pay a living wage if the City is functioning as a land lord and has no other relationship (subsidies, contracts, etc.). Read more »


Whopper of the Week: Measure B and the Merc

Mega Whopper

In a recent editorial, the editors of the San Jose Mercury News supported efforts of the San Jose City Council to “tweak” (the Mercury’s term) the provisions regarding disability retirement in Measure B, Chuck Reed’s flawed and failing pension reform initiative.

While agreeing that some tweaks needed to be made, and pointing out the Mercury News had in general said as much during the Measure B campaign, the editorial includes several other comments chiding the Measure B proponents for their inadequate performance as legislators on this topic. Read more »


A Simple Solution to Restore San Jose’s Police Department

  The recent court ruling that gutted San Jose’s Measure B was a huge blow to the city’s efforts to simply write off the rights of its employees.  And it was a big win for all city employees, but it won’t stop police officers from leaving the City of San Jose.

Although I do believe it will slow what could have been a mass exodus had Measure B been fully upheld, to stop our officers from fleeing to other cities is going to take more than just returning pay and maintaining benefits. In theory it should be a simple task, but for whatever reason it has been difficult for the majority of our current leaders to accomplish. Read more »


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