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Pierluigi Oliverio for Congress?

In an unexpected move, it appears that San Jose District 6 Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio has declared for California’s Congressional District 17 Seat.  According to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voter’s Website, Mr. Oliverio has paid the $1,740.00 candidate ballot filing fee and was issued his candidate statement last Friday.  He joins an extremely competitive race with longtime incumbent Mike Honda, serial congressional candidate Ro Khanna, and Republican Ron Cohen.


Santa Clara Gets Mayor and More Collaborative Feel as it Seeks a New Council Member

With the unanimous appointment of Lisa Gillmor to the Mayor’s seat, the characteristically divided Santa Clara City Council has taken an important step in becoming a more collaborative policy-making body. Mayor Gillmor was widely considered the best choice to follow Jamie Matthews, who unexpectedly resigned earlier this month. “Mayor Gillmor will provide us a platform to come together, work harmoniously, and tackle the issues that are important to promoting our working families,” said Councilman Dominic Caserta.

With her move to Mayor, Gillmor leaves an open City Council Seat. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the Council declared a vacancy in City Council Seat No. 6, for the unexpired term ending in November 2016. The timeline to appoint a new Council Member is aggressive, with the application deadline on Friday, March 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm and the interview date on Monday, March 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm. The Oath of Office is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

Now, we will keep an eye on who throws their hat into the ring and hope that the Council selects a candidate who is not only well-qualified, but keeps up the new, more collaborative feel in Santa Clara City Hall.



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

Santa Clara County

Approving financing plan & design-build construction for $281M new jail 

On August 11, 2015, the Board of Supervisors considered the Administration’s proposal to construct a new jail facility, including housing, programming, treatment, and the financing necessary to complete this complex project. On December 17, 2015, the County received a letter from the BSCC notifying us that the County had been conditionally awarded $80 million in state lease revenue bond financing to build the requested facility.

In response to a request from the Board, County staff has conducted several community meetings regarding the new facility. Based on community input, County staff has been working to some add in-person non-contact visitation and additional special management beds to the new facility.

Possible action:

  1. Adopt Resolution authorizing the application for Senate Bill (SB) 863 Jail Construction Financing.
  2. Approve delegation of authority to Chief Operating Officer….
  3. Approve modifications to the County’s proposal to allow for six additional months for construction, increased special management step-down beds, medical and dental space, visitation space, and change in construction method to design build.
  4. Approve plan to finance the County’s New Jail Facility and accept award of $80 million from the State SB 863 Jail Construction Financing.

Where:  Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

When: Feb. 23, 2016, 9 am

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Friedrichs: An Attack on Working Men and Women

This entry was written before Justice Scalia’s death.  While the outcome of the Freidrichs case before the current court might be different than previously anticipated, the importance of defending against similar unfounded lawsuits in the future remains.   If the Court had found in Ms. Freidrichs favor, it would have essentially gutted the foundation of the union movement, which is that we are stronger when we work together.  Although it’s likely that this attempt won’t succeed, we must remain vigilant, because there will be many efforts going forward to undermine the hard fought rights of working men and woman.  

There’s a very well-known case before the Supreme Court that’s gaining a lot of buzz not only here in California, but throughout the labor movement nationally.  The case is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, wherein a teacher is suing the California Teachers Association (CTA) for paying fair share fees to her union.

The fair share fee was first decided in 1977 in another case where the Supremes ruled that when all employees are represented exclusively by a public-employee union, nonmembers would still be represented and pays a fair share fee for activities related to collective bargaining. Since unions are required to represent members and non-members alike, members pay dues and non-members pay a fair share fee. Forty years later, the plaintiffs are trying to upend this longstanding law to achieve their political goal of weakening the labor movement.  The case would ban the rights of CTA and local school districts to have fair share agreements for all workers. They argue that the fair share fees are a violation of First Amendment rights.

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

Santa Clara County

Report on existing pay equity laws and recs on amending County contracting policy

This is the second in a series of report-backs provided by the County Counsel and the Office of the County Executive in response to the Board of Supervisors’ September 15, 2015 directives for more information. One of those directives was to assess current County policies and practices related to hiring, pay, and promotion and their implications for gender, racial/ethnic, and sexual orientation equity. This report summarizes existing pay-equity laws and then provides responsive information from County Administration relating to policies and practices regarding hiring, pay, and promotion:

  • Laws, Policies and Practices Affecting Pay Equity
  • Assessment of County Policies and Practices Relating to Hiring, Pay and Promotion
  • Policies on Nondiscrimination and Diversity in the County Workforce
  • Outreach and Recruitment

Where: Santa Clara County Housing, Land Use, Environment, and Transportation Cmte

When:  Feb 18, 2016, 10am

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Justice Antonin Scalia Dies, Several Cases Turned Upside Down

Today, Justice Antonin Scalia, the most vocal conservative on a conservative Supreme Court, died at the age of 79.  There are many implications for Supreme Court cases that have already been heard and cases that are upcoming.  It is expected it will take quite some time for President Obama and United States Senate to decide on the next justice.

We can expect 4-4 decisions in the meantime, with stalemates between the Court’s liberal and conservative wings.  This is a big deal for public sector unions.  Friedrichs v. the California Teachers Association, which has already been argued to the Court, is now expected to end in a 4-4 tie.  In the event of a tie, the decision of the Circuit Court stands.  In the case of Friedrichs, the 9th Circuit ruled that fair share fees were legal.  It appears that public sector unions will be able to continue collecting fair share fees for union activities that benefit all workers, like collective bargaining.  At least for now, the right for working people to stand together and organize appears safe.

Friedrichs is just one major case that has been turned upside down by Scalia’s death.  There are several other important cases whose outcomes may change from what they were expected to be just one day ago.  These include cases on affirmative action, birth control, immigration, abortion and redistricting.  Whether you agreed or disagreed with Justice Scalia, the influence he wielded on American law cannot be denied.


Santa Clara Mayor Resigns – Could 49ers Be Partially to Blame?


Yesterday, Jamie Matthews surprised even his close friends and political associates when he announced he was relinquishing his seat as Santa Clara Mayor immediately after his city hosted Super Bowl 50.   Matthews’s abrupt resignation clearly demonstrates a failure on the part of the 49ers, who seem to have no issue with putting their political allies in difficult and unfavorable positions.  The 49ers have a history of contributing large sums of money to elections and then making their political allies look bad by breaking promises to the community. Their treatment of Matthews appeared no different. It was only a matter of time before Matthews chose to spend more time with his family over fielding complaints about the 49ers.

Matthews, whose resignation goes into effect today, still had two years of his term still left.


Early Fundraising Numbers are in for 2016 San Jose City Council Races

In District 2, there are two early front runners in Elias Portales and Sergio Jimenez.

Elias Portales leads the district with an impressive $35,777 raised in the month of December.  Mr. Portales has a good amount of funds available with $33,670.16 cash on hand.  Sergio Jimenez is next in the district with a respectable $17,005.16 raised in December, Mr. Jimenez was very efficient with the money raised, he still has $16,797.16 of that on hand.  Neither candidate has listed any debt.

Other candidates in the race are Joe Lopez and Steve Brown, both of whom had not begun raising money in December, and Henry Perry, who is yet to file his campaign report for December, which was due February 1st.

In District 4, only two candidates have opened campaign committees, Manh Nguyen and Lan Diep.

Current Councilmember Manh Nguyen has raised $17,060 in contributions and loaned himself another $1,000 in funds.  Mr. Nguyen currently sits at just over $18,000 cash on hand and just over $1,600 in accrued debt.  His opponent Lan Diep had not begun raising funds in December, he will not have to submit his first campaign report until March.

District 6 is shaping up to be the race to watch in the early going, the candidates did not disappoint as several turned in strong fundraising numbers for December. 

Leading the way for all City Council Candidates in San Jose is Erik Fong with $35,858 raised from contributions and another $5,000 in dollars he loaned from himself for a total of $40,858.  Mr. Fong has $38,113.05 cash on hand at the end of December, and $15,000 in accrued expenses between his loan and some consulting fees.  Coming in second is Norman Kline with $40,584 raised in contributions in December, Mr. Kline self-contributed $10,010, but unlike many other council candidates, the money he contributed is not a loan to his campaign.  He has $34,000 on hand and owes just over $7,000 from a fundraiser in December.  Rounding out the top three in total raised is Dev Davis, while only raising $12,375 in campaign contributions, she buoyed her campaign by loaning herself an additional $20,000.

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

County of Santa Clara

Reinstating Turner to complete Valley Medical Center retrofit; subsequent cost increase means add’l funding needed for other Measure A projects

Measure A authorized the County to borrow $840 million to fund the earthquake retrofitting of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and other hospital maintenance and refurbishing projects knows as the Seismic Safety Program. The pinnacle project of this program is the construction of a new 366,000 square foot 169-bed inpatient building, the construction of the north utility loop and energy plant, and upgrades to the central plant. The Project is roughly 85% complete. However, the County terminated Turner Construction’s right to coordinate the work on September 11, 2015 because in the County’s view Turner had breached the contract and had not satisfactorily taken steps to cure the situation.

On Friday, January 22, 2016, the County and Turner agreed to a change order to restart the project. The termination of Turner also impacted other projects in the Seismic Safety Program including the Services Building Replacement (SBR), replacing Old Main East/West with a new connector between the hospital facilities, and wayfinding and landscaping projects.  With the Bed Building Project delayed, the County has undertaken steps to install temporary utilities so the SBR project can move forward.  It should also be noted that restarting the Bed Building Project is likely to absorb a large portion of the unexpended budget in the program.  Thus projects not already substantially underway will likely have to be delayed until additional resources can be identified.

The San Jose Downtown Health Center construction project will be completed in early February. The County augmented the project with $650,000 from the General Fund to support late changes orders related to purchasing an emergency response radio system to guide emergency responders, complete site improvements, and resolve other changes that were deemed to be beyond the original scope of the construction contract. Once the project is turned over to the County, SCVMC will begin the process of installing furniture, fixtures, and equipment using $6.8 million from the General Fund. It is estimated the facility will open for services in April 2016.

Where: Santa Clara County Health and Hospital Committee

When:  Feb. 2, 2016, 2pm

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City of San Jose

Introducing ¼ or ½ cent sales tax measure for June 2016 ballot

Council will discuss the results of a community survey for a potential revenue measure for the June 7, 2016 ballot, including consideration of a general purpose one-quarter percent or one-half percent retail transactions and use (“sales tax”) measure; and will discuss the process and procedure for introducing the measure.

Two alternate measures are presented for possible Council adoption: one for a ¼ cent tax (to raise ~$40M annually) and one for a ½ cent tax (to raise ~$80M annually).  If either one is adopted, it would be placed on the June 7, 2016 ballot.

The proposed ballot language is:

  • San José Local City Services  To fund city services such as: improving police response to violent crimes, burglaries, and other safety needs; improving 911/emergency medical/fire response times; repairing potholes and streets; maintaining parks; expanding gang prevention; and creating jobs through economic development, shall the City of San José enact a ¼ [or ½] percent sales tax for 9 years, providing about $40 million annually, requiring Independent Citizens Oversight with public review of spending, and all revenues controlled locally? (YES / NO)

Council will also adopt an updated Spending Priorities Plan (Attachment C) to provide high-level guidance for future Council and community budget discussions regarding the use of potential new revenues that might result from voter approval of a City revenue ballot measure.

Where:    San Jose City Council

When:  Feb. 9, 2016, 1:30p

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