Earlier this month Victor Gomez, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, sent out an email containing false information about the Opportunity to Work (OTW) initiative, which will be on the November ballot in San Jose. In fact, the Chamber deliberately mislead many of the email recipients who are not covered by OTW to believe that they would be gravely impacted by the measure. Employers with 35 or fewer employees – the vast majority of San Jose’s employers – are exempt from the measure. But you wouldn’t know that from reading the Chamber’s email.
Below are some of the Chamber’s misrepresentations, followed by the truth about OTW:Tweet
As of 5 pm yesterday, all candidates who had filed to run for Santa Clara City Council had officially selected the specific seat for which they would be vying. Below is the breakdown of the current candidates and the Santa Clara City Council seats they are running for:
A new poll released earlier today shows that, among likely general election voters, Congressman Mike Honda holds a considerable lead against Ro Khanna in California’s 17th Congressional District race. The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners, shows that Honda heads Khanna 41% to 35%, with 23% of voters undecided. Additionally, Honda leads Khanna in favorability and name recognition, with 52% of voters viewing him favorably.Tweet
Political insiders are rolling their eyes at the strange and costly turn of political events in Sunnyvale. Dave Whittum resigned from the City Council even though only a few months of his term remained. He would have been termed out at the end of this year. His resignation was early enough to force the City Council to call a special election to fill his seat for the remainder of the year, instead of filling the seat in the regularly scheduled general election in November. The special election on August 16 will cost Sunnyvale $767,600. Since Whittum is an outspoken fiscal conservative, the costly timing of his resignation seemed strange enough. But the story gets stranger. Whittum’s resignation was late enough to force the candidates to file for the November election before the special election takes place. The filing period for the November election to fill Whittum’s old seat ends before August 16. If Whittum had planned it out, he could not have made these elections more confusing or costly for his Sunnyvale neighbors.Tweet
The official recount is over and Lan Diep has been named the winner of the San Jose City Council District 4 race, again.
But the news of a confirmed defeat has not stopped Nguyen and a voter from requesting yet another recount, this one at their own expense. The recount will cost approximately $20,000 and take one month. The general consensus is that Diep’s margin remains and, in what will be a long, drawn-out race, Diep will, for the third time, be named the new City Council Member for District 4.
Now that the Opportunity to Work Initiative has been placed on the November Ballot, I’d like to make a prediction. San Jose’s elected leaders are going to hear from outraged business owners who will argue the proposal will do them grievous harm. The source of their information will be the Chamber of Commerce, and the information will be a disgraceful pack of lies. Some might say, lying is to the Chamber as swimming is to a duck. It just comes naturally.
Since I’ve been involved in local government for nearly four decades, I have a solid historical perspective on this issue.Tweet
Placing Users Utility Tax measure on November 2016 ballot
City Council sponsored a Study Issue to evaluate the potential of a Utility Users Tax (UUT) ballot measure for the November 2016 election. On December 1, 2015, a Council Study Session was held to discuss the City’s current UUT regulations and ways to prevent UUT revenues from declining due the fact that significant portions of the current ordinance have not been updated for virtually four decades, during which time technology and telecommunications have changed dramatically. It is important to note that this is an existing revenue stream and the City Council is not creating a new tax. The options for updating the existing ordinance included potential rate increases, broadening the base against which the tax is collected, and ways to address modern telecommunication services that didn’t exist when the City’s UUT regulations were adopted. Council comments favored staff returning with an ordinance modernizing the telecommunications UUT without broadening the base or increasing the rate. Council also supported conducting community opinion research to evaluate the public’s potential interest in, and the viability of a UUT update.Tweet
One indicator of the political strength of an organization or individual is the success of the candidates they endorse, particularly in contested races for open seats. In the hotly contested race for the open seat in the 27th Assembly District, which pitted Ash Kalra, endorsed by Labor, against Madison Nguyen, endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor and the Mercury News, both candidates advanced to the November Election. Below is a scorecard for the three open seats on the San Jose City Council, which will determine the balance of power there.Tweet
Placing initiative to approve Vallco Town Center Specific Plan on the November ballot
Council will be receiving a report related to the proposed impacts of an initiative that would approve and adopt the Vallco Town Center Specific Plan as a mixed use development area – to include at least 389 residential units, as well as retail, office, commercial, hotel space, parks and open space, and designated community benefits including a bike and pedestrian trail, contributions to the Fremont Unified High School District and Cupertino Union School District, at least 80 units of senior housing, maintain the existing movie theater, and build green community spaces – as well as grant property owner initial entitlements to develop in accordance with the initiative and to amend the General Plan and Municipal Code as appropriate to support the development of the project. Council will also be deciding whether or not to approve the initiative as is or place the initiative on the ballot for the November General Election. If the initiative will be placed on the ballot, the Council will decide whether to direct the City elections official to prepare an impartial analysis and whether to enable city council members to submit ballot arguments against the initiative.
On June 6, 2016, the City Clerk certified that the proponents of the initiative had gathered enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot. The City Clerk’s analysis finds minor impacts from the proposed initiative, including potential traffic congestion impacts as well as some positive impacts related to incentivizing redevelopment of the Vallco Shopping Mall. The primary distinction between putting an initiative on the ballot vs. adopting it via Council is the environmental review processes, which are required for Council-sponsored initiatives but not for ballot measures. In addition, if approved as a ballot measure, any change made to the plan or development agreements within would need to be voted on by election – which would be complicated, lengthy, and potentially costly to the City. According to the report, for a consolidated election, the “base charge” would be $52,900 and the additional $53,400 per-measure costs would remain the same, resulting in a total cost of approximately $106,300.
Additional details and background information, including the Draft Resolution and environmental and fiscal analyses are available in the agenda packet.Tweet