Policy Watch: Week of 7/17

City of Santa Clara

Raising minimum wage to reach $15 by 2019 – including economic triggers to delay implementation if major recession occurs

Staff are recommending that the Council receive a report on community outreach results related to the proposed minimum wage increase and pass to print an amended ordinance establishing the City’s local minimum wage to reach $15 per hour by 2019 with the following provisions:

  • Increase to $13.00 on January 1, 2018, and increase to $15.00 on January 1, 2019;
  • Add economic triggers that would provide an option to delay implementation of the minimum wage increases if a severe recession occurs during the ramp-up period;
  • Change the CPI index used for annual increases beginning January 1, 2020 to the regional CMSA CPI-W, with a maximum annual increase of five percent.

The City’s current minimum wage ordinance was approved in 2015. Santa Clara’s local minimum wage went into effect on January 1, 2016, with an initial hourly wage rate of $11.00 per hour, and was increased to $11.10 on January 1, 2017.

Based on feedback provided during community outreach, for ease of implementation and regional consistency, staff recommends an amendment to the City’s minimum wage ordinance. The proposed amendment is based on the regional model ordinance adopted by neighboring cities and includes the following provisions:

  • An increase to $15.00 per hour by 2019 starting with an increase to $13.00 on January 1,2018, and an increase to $15,00 on January 1, 2019.
  • For regional consistency (e.g. Cupertino, Milpitas, San Jose, State of California) add two economic triggers that would provide an option to delay implementation of the minimum wage increases during the ramp-up period if two triggers are met:
    • Decline in California’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment for either the three-month period ending in June or the six-month period ending in June, and
    • Decline in the state portion of the sales and use tax receipts measured by the 12-month period ending in June compared to the prior year.

If both of the above economic conditions are met during the ramp-up to $15.00, the City Manager would have the option to suspend the increase in the minimum wage for the upcoming year by September 1.

  • Change the CPI index used for annual increases from the U.S. All Cities CPI-W to the San Francisco-Oakland- San Jose Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) CPI-W to more accurately account for the cost of living adjustments in this area, with a maximum annual increase at of five percent.

To administer and enforce the current minimum wage ordinance citywide, the City of Santa Clara contracts with the City of San Jose’s Office of Equality Assurance for up to $20,000 per year. The enforcement model is complaint-driven with fees only paid when a complaint is filed, investigated, or resolved. For FY 2016-17, approximately $1,800 of fees has been invoiced to the City of Santa Clara for the enforcement of its current minimum wage ordinance. This contract has been renewed for FY 2018-19 and will not change in cost to the City.

Where: Santa Clara City Council

When: July 18, 2017, 7:00pm

Link to item: http://sireweb.santaclaraca.gov/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=60410

Link to agenda: http://sireweb.santaclaraca.gov/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1984&doctype=AGENDA

 

Considering changes in City Charter and election method – including designation of 2 districts with 3 council representatives for each district and use of ranked choice voting

Staff are recommending that Council consider the Charter Review Committee’s recommendations amending the City Charter, including:

  • Elect City Council Members by two districts (e.g. District A and B) with three Council Members representing each district;
  • Elect the three Council Members at the same time per district alternating/staggering between gubernatorial and presidential election years;
  • Utilize Ranked Choice Voting by means of Single Transferrable Vote as soon as the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Office can support such a system; continue with the City’s current voting method until the County can support the new voting method.
  • Transition to include:
    • In 2018 elect two members to four-year terms in District A;
    • In 2020 elect one member to a two-year term in District A and three members to four-year terms in District B.

In addition, staff are recommending that Council direct the City Manager and the Interim City Attorney to follow-up with any implementation steps needed.

On April 11, 2017, the City Council appointed a 13-Member Charter Review Committee to evaluate the City’s at-large by-seat election method of Council Members and to make a recommendation to Council regarding district or other methods of election in time for the June 2018 primary election. Committee Members elected Tino Silva to serve as Chair and Keith Stattenfield to serve as Vice Chair. The Committee had six meetings and has received extensive information on election systems, voting methodologies, and various possibilities to changes in how Santa Clara elects its six at-large-by-seat council members.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) provided a presentation on June 12, 2017 and informed the Committee that given the current timeline, the only realistic alternatives that can be considered in time for the 2018 election include at-large election, by-district election, cumulative voting, or limited voting. Several voting methods, such as ranked choice voting, will likely be supported by the County in 2020 when ROV purchases and implements its upgraded voting equipment/system. After thorough deliberation at its July 10, 2017 meeting, the Charter Review Committee finalized the above recommendations to amend the City Charter for Council’s consideration.

In the City’s current at-large by-seat method of election, candidates may run for any seat up for election and voters may cast one vote per seat; seats do not represent a geographic area. In the recommended by-district method of election, candidates run for office in a particular council district and are elected only by the voters from that district. The City currently uses plurality voting, where the candidate receiving the most votes is elected, even if less than a majority. Ranked choice voting (RCV), the recommended voting method, is currently used in the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Leandro and is only available to charter cities. The single transferable vote (SW) is a type of RCV that is used for electing candidates to multiple openings in the same election. Voters rank candidates on their ballot in order of preference and candidates must receive a certain threshold of voter support to be elected.

Because voters may not understand the concept of ranking vs. selecting candidates, voter education and outreach in collaboration with the Santa Clara County ROV is highly recommended.

The Charter Review Committee also considered a motion to recommend three districts of two council members but that failed by a 5-7 vote. There was little support for six districts. The Charter Review Committee has completed its assignment from the City Council. The Committee desires to meet for one more session on July 24, 2017 to discuss an additional recommendation in regards to the election method of other City Officials: Mayor, Clerk, and Police Chief. The Council may consider providing direction regarding this topic of discussion.

Where: Santa Clara City Council

When: July 18, 2017, 7:00pm

Link to item: http://sireweb.santaclaraca.gov/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=60416

Link to agenda: http://sireweb.santaclaraca.gov/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1984&doctype=AGENDA

 

Reviewing RFP for preparation of Freedom Circle Specific Plan and providing direction on review process for Greystar Development proposal

Staff are recommending that the Council review and comment on the Request for Proposals for the development of the Freedom Circle Specific Plan and that the Council provide direction as to the timing of the Greystar Development proposal in relation to that of the Specific Plan.

The Freedom Circle area is not considered for conversion to residential uses under any phase of the 2010 — 2035 General Plan, but rather planned long-term to be preserved for employment uses, and it is not part of a Focus Area with clearly identified boundaries. Based on property owner interest and the goal of creating a cohesive area plan, staff recommends that the proposed Freedom Circle focus area encompass an approximately 138 acres of gross land area in north Santa Clara, bounded generally by Highway 101 to the south, Great America Parkway to the west, a combination of Patrick Henry Drive and Great America Theme Park to the north, and San Tomas Aquino Creek to the east. This area would include sixteen commercial or light industrial properties and four public streets with access to public transit available on Great America Parkway and Mission College Boulevard.

Specific Plan Process

Staff is proposing a City-led planning process for preparation of a Specific Plan consistent with General Plan policies. As described in the draft REP, the City’s key objectives for the Freedom Circle Specific Plan would be:

  1. Place-making — the Plan should support the development of a complete neighborhood that incorporates public and private amenities, including parklands and other open spaces, along with services, organized into an attractive, walkable urban environment.
  2. Equity — the Plan should distribute the anticipated future costs and benefits of new development among property owners in an equitable manner.
  3. Feasibility the Plan should include a land use plan and implementation tools as necessary to provide for a straight-forward, streamlined implementation process.
  4. Economic Sustainability — preparation of the Plan should include an analysis of the economic and fiscal impacts of the conversion of land from commercial/industrial to residential use and an evaluation of potential off-setting conversion of other existing commercial/industrial lands designated for future residential use within the General Plan. The Plan should also consider the retention of key industrial or commercial sites within the Plan area to maximize the overall economic benefit of future land uses and to produce a complete community.

As noted above, Greystar Development is proposing to develop in advance of the completion of the Specific Plan and has submitted applications for a General Plan Amendment, Rezoning, and Architectural Review to construct 600,000 square feet of office space, 19,000 square feet of retail space, and approximately 1,018 residential units at 3925 — 3935 Freedom Circle. The City has received correspondence from another property owner in the area requesting that the Greystar development not be allowed to proceed ahead of the Specific Plan process. The City Council may direct staff to either proceed or not proceed with preparation of the Specific Plan and further, to either proceed independently, proceed concurrent with the Specific Plan, or not proceed with review of the Greystar project.

Greystar has expressed that because it has been planning to develop the property for some time now, they should not be subject to the longer timeframe associated with completion of a Specific Plan.

Allowing the Greystar project to advance ahead of a Specific Plan would facilitate their redevelopment proposal by allowing for City Council consideration more quickly than if it is tied to the Specific Plan process. While Greystar will need to complete much of the same analysis as would be required for the Specific Plan, the scope of this analysis would be somewhat reduced and they would not be delayed by the City’s RFP process. Allowing the Greystar project to proceed independently would also take some time pressure off the preparation of the Specific Plan as no other land owners or developers are known to be actively pursuing entitlements in this area at this time. On the other hand, requiring the Greystar project to be processed concurrently with preparation of a Freedom Circle Specific Plan would facilitate the comprehensive planning of a new neighborhood with a comprehensive place-making strategy.

Where: Santa Clara City Council

When: July 18, 2017, 7:00pm

Link to item: http://sireweb.santaclaraca.gov/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=60398

Link to agenda: http://sireweb.santaclaraca.gov/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1984&doctype=AGENDA

 

Alum Rock Union Elementary School District

Taking multiple actions related to recent state audit of District Bond spending – including reconstituting Bond, Facilities, and Finance Committee, terminating contracts with Del Terra Group, and reprioritizing District Bond projects

The Board will be taking multiple actions related to a recent state audit suggesting mismanagement of District funding in relation to Bond-funded construction projects and facilities management. These actions include:

  • Receiving a status update on the condition of all District facilities – including classrooms, bathrooms, heating and cooling systems, fields, blacktops, and play structures/areas;
  • Discussion on the appropriate role of trustees, including a review of relevant Board Bylaws and applicable laws;
  • Discussion on reconfiguring the Bond, Facilities, and Finance Committee to ensure accountability and a more representative committee membership;
  • Discussion on the reprioritization of District Bond projects;
  • Consideration of terminating contract with Del Terra Real Estate Services, Inc. for program and construction management services related to Measure I and Meausure J funding.

Where: Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees

When: July 13, 2017, 5:30pm

Link to item: http://www.arusd.org/cms/lib7/CA01001158/Centricity/Domain/11/BB.07.13.17.pdf

Link to agenda: http://www.arusd.org/cms/lib7/CA01001158/Centricity/Domain/11/July.13.17.Reg.Bd.Mtg.Agenda.pdf

 

Reviewing results of Extraordinary Audit and considering legal services contract w/ Fagen Friedman and Fulfrost LLP

The Superintendent will be presenting the results from the FCMAT Extraordinary Audit of the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District. The Board will be reviewing and discussing the audit and considering the contract for Fagen Friedman and Fulfrost, LLP to provide business and real estate legal services to the District.

Additionally, the Board will review and discuss the contract for Fagen Friedman and Fulfrost, LLP to provide Business and Facilities, Real Estate Legal Services to and to assist the District in responding to the FCMAT Extraordinary Audit. Effective dates: June 26, 2017 through the date of conclusion of services necessary to complete the Scope of Services, but in no event shall the agreement extend beyond August 30, 2017.

Where: Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees

When: July 13, 2017, 5:30pm

Link to packet (warning: very large file download): http://www.arusd.org/cms/lib7/CA01001158/Centricity/Domain/11/BB.07.13.17.pdf

Link to agenda: http://www.arusd.org/cms/lib7/CA01001158/Centricity/Domain/11/July.13.17.Reg.Bd.Mtg.Agenda.pdf

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