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Santa Clara County Taking the Lead for Climate Justice

Wondering how Santa Clara County is setting the trend? On October 21st, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors upheld the county’s high standards for workers by moving to incorporate these standards into a new kind of residential construction program, known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

PACE programs bring energy efficiency to residents by providing low-cost, secure financing options for energy upgrades that improve your home’s comfort and efficiency and save you money on your monthly energy bill.These PACE energy upgrades also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, aiding California’s global-warming-fighting goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Read more »


2014 Black Friday Walmart Protests

This Black Friday we need to send the Waltons a message. We can’t sit back while their workers go hungry any longer. And Walmart and the Waltons must stop taking illegal actions against Walmart workers who want to work hard and be able to provide for our families. Read more »


A Crowded Field to Fill SJ City Council District 4

There could be a very crowded field vying for the open District 4 seat on the San Jose City Council.  Kansen Chu, on his way to the State Assembly in District 25, has two more years in his Council term.  Mayor-elect Liccardo could choose the unpopular option of appointing someone to the post for the rest of the term, but the Council will probably let the people of District Four vote for a replacement.

That said, let’s consider who might be among the candidates.  The most obvious possibility is Daisy Chu, Kansen’s wife.  Read more »


Policy Watch: Your Weekly Tip Sheet for What’s Going on in Your Community

City of San Jose

District 4 Vacancy

Assemblymember-elect and current Councilmember from District 4 Kansen Chu is currently orienting himself to his new gig representing Assembly District 25 in the state’s capitol. With the Assemblymember-elect’s swearing in scheduled for December 1, the San Jose City Council is poised to decide how to fill the newly created vacancy for District 4. Per the City’s charter the Council has multiple options – call a special election, appoint a replacement, or both. Read more »


Getting to the Bottom of a Big Mess

Everyone’s talking about it.  The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is a mess.  Now the Board of Supervisors has ordered an investigation into the “processes, procedures, and technologies used by the Registrar of Voters that may have impeded the timely delivery of a secure and accurate vote tally.”  County Executive Jeff Smith has until January to get back to the Board with his results.

Here’s what we’re told he’ll find…or should find: a systemic culture of non-accountability that for years no one bothered to overhaul properly. The Citizens Advisory Commission on Elections is supposed to oversee the Registrar of Voters.  Commissioner Sharon Sweeney recently made a public call for an investigation into the painfully slow vote counting process in the recent general election.  A letter to the County Board of Supes lays out her fears: Read more »


Housing Impact Fee Passes With Strong Council Support

San Jose City Councilmembers made a bold and much needed move last night toward providing more affordable housing with the passage of a Housing Impact Fee. The $17 per square foot fee charged to market-rate housing projects will take the place of dried up redevelopment funds that used to go toward affordable housing projects. Read more »


The Number of San Jose Cops Will Fall to Lowest in 30 Years

The San Jose Police Department projects it’s staffing level of officers will be its lowest since 1985, according to a report the department prepared for City Council.  At the rate offices are leaving, either through retirement, or because they can find a department elsewhere that will offer appropriate retirement and disability security, the force will dip below 1000 officers by the year 2017,  for the first time in 30 years.  Back then, there were 300,000 fewer people to protect. Read more »


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

Santa Clara County

Living Wage Policy

The County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to adopt a living wage policy for the County’s procurement process. The proposed policy will be the most comprehensive living wage for the $2.5 billion in contracts and around 16,000 workers employed by the County.

While the Administration is still working out a plan to review the various contracts (innumerable according to the County at the moment, see next item) that would need to incorporate the living wage provisions, the Board of Supervisors are poised to move forward. This is substantial progress for workers in Santa Clara County and will be a national model for fairness in employment by government and private entities. Read more »


From an Educator’s Perspective, How a Living Wage Helps Students

I attended private Catholic schools in Ohio for 18 years.  I have taught in public schools in California for 20 years.  Each year I take students from Live Oak High School to a three-day program, Camp Everytown, during which we participate in a privilege exercise.  In this exercise, you move up if you have received some sort of privilege (such as having books at home or having parents that graduated from college)  and you step back if you received some sort of deficit (a parent who has been out of work or having to stay home from school with siblings who are sick). Each year, I turn around from my place in the front of the line and am confronted with the real gap we expect education to close.  Read more »


Election Day Protected Students

The polls are closed, ballots cast, and votes tabulated, and I am proud to say California Public Education won two major victories on Election Day both statewide and locally.

At the state level, Tom Torlakson was successful in his reelection bid as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. On a personal note, the portion of Tom’s message that resonated most with me was, “Every single public school in California is worth investing in, but none are for sale!” Read more »


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