Monthly Archives : June 2014

The Substance of a Unique Legacy


John Vasconcellos family and friends said good-bye last Saturday.   For 38 years he represented Silicon Valley in the legislature, fighting for the under served, and seeking to live an authentic life worthy of the talents he possessed and inspiring others to take up that same challenge.  To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, he did it his way. Brian Murphy, a longtime friend and adviser, set…

Trauma to Triumph Gang Intervention is Proving Its Worth


When the Board of Supervisors passed the new Santa Clara County budget last week, one of the most important new public safety items was the Trauma to Triumph program I supported at Valley Medical Center.  While the $289,480 one-time cost will cover only one year of this gang intervention program – on which we partner with the City of San Jose…

AB 60: The Road to CA Driver’s Licenses


Assembly Bill 60, passed and signed into law in 2013, will allow undocumented immigrants in California an opportunity to apply for a driver’s license in California effective January 1, 2015. Since February of this year, Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN) has engaged activists, community members and other stakeholders by holding nearly two dozen community education presentations in Monterey,…

Whopper of the Week: Tenure Decision produces multi-whoppers


This week’s whopper is an editorial by the San Jose Mercury News regarding Superior Court Rolf M. Treu’s decision declaring California’s tenure rules for teachers to be unconstitutional.  Part of Judge Treu’s reasoning was that the tenure rules allegedly make it extraordinarily difficult to discharge incompetent teachers and incompetent teachers deny students a quality education. The first component of the whopper…

Living Wage Policy is Gaining Momentum


Get ready to voice  your opinion about what a good job really  looks like.  It’s one with wages that allow workers to support themselves and their families; it’s one where workers have a voice on the job to speak up about abuses or inequity; it’s one where a mother or father whose child is sick, can stay home for a…

Silicon Valley’s Minimum Wage Success Story: Businesses concerned with minimum wage increases need look no further than tech’s capital


Minimum wage increases are being enacted in cities across the country, from SeaTac, Washington, to Washington, D.C. Wherever a hike is proposed, free market conservatives offer the same dire warnings: Raising the minimum wage will increase unemployment, depress growth and hurt workers. The latest example is Seattle, where Mayor Ed Murray finds himself under pressure from the city’s businesses after…

Transit Improvements Can Help Close the Valley’s Economic Divide


Silicon Valley badly needs transportation improvements. Without investments in transit, expressways, bike lanes and more, our quality of life and our economy will deteriorate. Soon our community may have the opportunity to make decisions that can help make progress on these critical infrastructure issues. The Valley Transportation Authority is considering placing a quarter-cent sales tax on the November ballot. As…

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


City of San Jose Fire department response time and action plan Staff will report back to the San Jose Public Safety, Finance and Strategic Support Committee about actions that have been taken to improve response times for 9-1-1 emergency calls in San Jose, including future actions to improve response times and sustainable data collection for accurate reporting. The City is…

A Minimum Wage Adjustment is Needed Countywide


Given the increasing disparity among wage earners here, passing higher minimum wage laws in all cities in Santa Clara County is long overdue. The City of San Jose set a great example that should be emulated.  If we are committed to creating and supporting a healthier, more vigorous and equitable community, this is one way to begin to address the…