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City of San Jose

Priority Setting Session Dec. 8; potential priorities include gender pay equity, downtown storefront activation, 1% development fee for art, more

Council to approve new items for the Council Priority List to create an updated, rank-ordered list. The process for establishing Council Priorities at the Dec. 8th meeting are as follows:

  1. Nominated Ideas Voting – Council will vote on the Nominated Ideas which were referred to priority setting through the early consideration process, to determine whether they should move on to the Council Priority list.
  2. Ranking Process – The first nine items on the Council Priority list established on June 23, 2015, will not be re-ranked. The remaining 11 items on the list plus any new items identified in Step 1 will go through a forced ranking process.
  3. Implementation and Next Steps – Staff will continue to work on higher ranked priority items.

The 9 frozen items are:

  1. Wage Theft Parts A, B, and C
  2. Update the City’s Rental Rights and Referrals Program
  3. Local Hiring/Local Business/Apprenticeship Utilization Program
  4. Massage Parlor Regulation
  5. Mobile Home Conversions
  6. Illegal Fireworks Ordinance
  7. Riparian Corridor and Bird-Safe Buildings
  8. Commercial Impact Fee for Affordable Housing
  9. Allowing Secondary Detached Units in San Jose

Newly nominated ideas include:

  • Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Ordinance
  • Gender Pay Equity
  • License Plate Readers on Garbage Trucks
  • Electronic Billboards
  • Downtown Sign District Pilot Program

Where: San Jose City Council

When: December 8th, 2015, 1:30pm

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Mayor Liccardo recommends to appoint Councilmember Mahn Nguyen to Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board

With the resignation of Councilmember Kalra from the VTA board, the City of San Jose has an open seat. Mayor Liccardo recommends appointing Councilmember Mahn Nguyen to represent the City of San Jose on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation (VTA) Board.

Where: Rules & Open Government Committee

Where:  December 2, 2015, 2pm

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Kennedy Resigns from Water District, Vacant Seat is Up for Grabs

Earlier this month, Dennis Kennedy, former Mayor of Morgan Hill and current Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) Board Member, resigned due to his battle with cancer.  While no candidates have officially filed for the vacant District 1 seat, there are a handful of people who are rumored to be interested.

The first is Morgan Hill Council Member Rich Constantine who was first elected in November of 2010 and is the heavyweight of the race.  Next, we have John Varela who sits on the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Board and handles business development for Asset Conversion Corporation. Also rumored to be thinking about applying is Erin Gill, with Grass Farm’s Garden Accents in Gilroy.  The SCVWD Board has until January 4 to make an appointment to fill the vacancy.

As we wait and see who will ultimately file for the seat, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge and thank Kennedy for his years of service to our region.  Since arriving to Silicon Valley, he has been actively involved in Morgan Hill and the surrounding areas. He has served, in a variety of capacities, on boards, public service and community organizations and planning committees. He has been a great force in shaping Santa Clara County and his absence will be felt.


Former Assembly Member Jumps into 30th Assembly District Race

The race for Assembly District 30 is heating up. Today, Anna Caballero, the Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency officially announced her candidacy for the seat.  Prior to serving in the Brown Administration, Caballero served in the California State Assembly from 2006-2010 and held the seat of Mayor and Council Member of Salinas for 15 years. She ran for State Senate, but lost in 2010.

Earlier this year, Karina Cervantez Alejo, current Council Member and former Mayor of Watsonville, announced her bid for the seat currently held by her husband, Luis Alejo.  She has been diligently gathering endorsements and raising funds. Cervantez Alejo serves on the League of California Cities Board of Directors and was recently appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Rounding out the pack is Gilroy Council Member Peter Leroe-Muñoz. Leroe-Munoz a former San Benito County prosecutor educated at Harvard Law School sits on the Cities Association of Santa Clara County.


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

Santa Clara County


Proposed changes to County policy regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers / notification requests

The board will consider adopting a Policy Resolution as proposed by Board President Cortese relating to civil immigration detainer and notification requests.  It will also consider directing Administration to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with DHS & ICE contingent upon adoption of the Policy Resolution.

Where: Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

When: November 17, 2015, 9 am

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Sudden Retirement Creates Unforeseen Race in Congressional District 20

Congressman Sam Farr surprised many yesterday with a bombshell announcement he will not run for re-election.  His sudden retirement creates an intriguing race in 2016 for California’s 20th Congressional District, which covers parts of Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.  There are a few big names that we may see jump into this race.

Monterey County District Attorney James Panetta has been rumored for years to be waiting for Congressman Sam Farr to retire, so that he could run for the seat.  Panetta is the son of former Defense Secretary, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Congressman Leon Panetta who held the seat before Congressman Farr succeeded him.

Another name to watch out for is Assemblymember Luis Alejo.  Mr. Alejo currently serves in Assembly District 30 and will be terming out in 2016.  We may see him throw his hat into the ring as he looks for his next Public Office.  Interestingly, if Senator Bill Monning decides to run for the newly open congressional seat, we may see Mr. Alejo run for Senator Monning’s current seat, Senate District 17.

Which brings us to Senator Bill Monning, Senator Monning certainly has roots in the district as he represented the old Assembly District 27 (parts of Monterey, Santa Clara & Santa Cruz Counties) while in the California State Assembly and he currently resides in the City of Carmel.  However, since you cannot concurrently run for 2 seats at once in California, he would have to give up his bid for re-elect in Senate District 17, a race he seems locked to win.  Therefore, it seems unlikely he would jump into the race for Congressional District 20.

Assemblymember Mark Stone is another name to look out for.  The Assemblymember currently represents Assembly District 29, which encompasses much of the Northern Central Coast and prior to the that he served as a County Supervisor for Santa Cruz County.  But just like Senator Monning, Mr. Stone is expected to seek and win re-election.

Jason Burnett is the current Mayor of Carmel and we may see him seek the Congressional Seat.  Prior to his election as Mayor of Carmel, Burnett was the Managing Partner at Clean Fund, a company that works to find financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Finally, we should not forget about former Assemblywoman Anna Caballero.  Caballero is expected by many to jump into the race for the open seat for Assembly District 30 when Luis Alejo terms out next year.  However, it is possible with the newly opened congressional seat, that she may look to Congress instead.  Caballero is the Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, a role she has been serving in since Governor Brown appointed her in 2011.

Congressional seats don’t open up very often, so one thing is certain: the competition will be fierce.


High Tech Wage Theft

Apple, Cisco and eBay contractors have been banned from the H1-B Visa program for wage theft. The contractors, Scopus Consulting Group Inc. and Orian Engineers Inc., both from Sunnyvale, were cited for short-changing workers approximately $84,000, according to a recent Silicon Valley Business Journal article.

Scopus Consulting Group Inc. and Orian Engineers Inc. will have to pay back wages to 21 workers, fork out $103,000 in fines and have been banned from hiring employees through the H1-B Visa program for one year.

These incidents of wage theft once again raise the question of whether the tech industry will take responsibility for the conduct of their contractors.  In the past, when tech companies hired security officers, coders, secretaries and others through contractors, tech could claim “plausible deniability” when those contractors misbehaved.  However, as more and more abuses come to light, it becomes harder and harder for tech companies to turn a blind eye toward their contract workers.


Sexism Rampant in Appointment of West Valley-Mission Community College Trustee

Sexism was on full display Monday night as the male members of the West Valley-Mission Community College (WVMCC) Board appointed another man, Steve Landau, instead of a more qualified woman, Randi Kinman.  Kinman was the only applicant for the open seat on the Board who had experience in the Community College arena, having served for twenty years as a Community College community liaison.  But qualifications were not to interfere with the WVMCC decision.

Conservative Board Member Chad Walsh campaigned behind the scenes for Landau, a protégé of Republican former San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant.   San Jose Councilmember Piereluigi Oliverio, a longtime Kinman foe, weighed in as well, sending to Board Members a seven-year-old Mercury News article that briefly described the San Jose City Council’s vote not to reappointment Kinman to the Planning Commission.

Although every insider knew at the time that Kinman’s removal from the Planning Commission was the result of Oliverio’s opposition, the Mercury article contains the line “City Hall insiders speculated that she grew unpopular with the council because staff members complained she was disrespectful.”  This fine piece of journalism may strike many as the sort of thing that often happens to assertive women, but the good old boys on the WVMCC Board needed little more. One of them, Karl Watanabe actually criticized her for continuing to speak when Chad Walsh started to interrupt her to clarify something, assertive behavior that would never be questioned in a man.

So chalk up a win for WVMCC Board Members Chad Walsh, Karl Watanabe, Robert Owens and Jack Lucas, who wanted Steve Landau because he is one of their own.  But let’s not forget how that win came about the next time these good old boys are up for election.


Candidates Vie for Vacant West Valley -Mission Community College Seat

The field is set for the appointment to the vacant Area 4 seat of the West Valley -Mission Community College District. Two candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.

First we have Randi Kinman, a long-time activist in the community college arena. Kinman has served as a community liaison between her neighborhood and the Managements of the San Jose City College and the San Jose Evergreen Valley Community College District for the last 20 years. She has also served as a Representative of Santa Clara County to the Citizens Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission since 2007 and is a founder of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Association, serving since 1998.

The other applicant for the seat is Steve Landau, a self-employed brand marketer. Landau is a protégé of Republican former San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant, who ran for a seat on the West Valley College board last year, but was rejected by the voters. Landau worked for a time in Constant’s Council office. Landau has taken an active role in the District 1 Leadership Group, including serving as the group’s President. The District 1 Leadership Group was formed by Constant in 2007.


94.4% of California Faculty Association Votes to Approve Strike

The California Faculty Association (CFA) announced that 94.4% of its membership voted to authorize CFA’s Board of Directors to call a strike if the contract negotiations with California State University (CSU) management fail to produce a fair deal for the faculty and staff on the 23 CSU campuses. The talks, which began in May of 2014 and are in the final stage, have yet to result in an agreement.

CFA is pushing for increased faculty earnings through the “Fight for Five” campaign, referring to their request for a 5% General Salary Increase for all faculty. CSU management has refused to budge from its offer of a 2% salary increase for faculty in the second year of the contract.

Based on a study released in Spring of 2015, CSU faculty earn, on average,  $45,000 per year in pay before taxes and other deductions with more than 50 percent of CSU faculty making less than $38,000 in gross earnings per year.

The negotiations are in the factfinding phase, which concludes with a report, from a neutral third party, that recommends how a settlement could be achieved. After reviewing the report, the CSU Chancellor has the authority to impose his “last, best offer” as a contract, and the faculty will have the right to strike.


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

Santa Clara County

Consider recommendations related to the Silicon Valley/Alameda County Nexus Study Project

To enact an affordable housing impact fee, jurisdictions must first conduct a nexus study to demonstrate how market-rate housing or commercial developments create the need for the affordable housing. To conduct a nexus study a city or county would typically hire a consultant on its own.  A better alternative is to collaborate with other jurisdictions to save time and money, as well as providing a stronger basis to support the likely policies that will need to be adopted.  Jurisdictions in Santa Clara and Alameda counties are interested in coordinating their efforts.  The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is leading the effort and they have contracted with Keyser Marston Associates, an experienced nexus study firm, to complete the nexus study.

Where: Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

When: Nov. 3, 2015, 9 am

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