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Posts from the ‘Government’ Category


In Case You Missed It: Santa Clara Moves One Step Closer to $15 by ‘19

Earlier this week, the City of Santa Clara moved one step closer to reaching a $15 minimum wage by 2019. Led by Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta, the City Council voted unanimously to spend 90 days conducting outreach to help determine its schedule of increases. The message from the people in the packed Council Chambers was clear: to reach $15 by 2019, joining 7 other Silicon Valley cities who will raise the wage faster than mandated by the State of California. The vote on the minimum wage increase schedule is set to come before the Council in July.

Click here to read the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s coverage on the issue.


Santa Clara City Council Approves Silicon Valley’s First Worker Retention Ordinance for Service Workers

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council made history by becoming the first city in Silicon Valley to pass a worker retention ordinance. This ordinance, which received unanimous support from the City Council, will provide job security for food and building service workers in the city. Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta lead the efforts by introducing the language of the ordinance at the end of January. Caserta was drawn to the issue last year when he met with tech cafeteria workers and heard about their job security concerns.

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Policy Watch: Week of 2/13

Santa Clara County

Report on ordinance to prevent discrimination against renters with Section 8 vouchers

At the February 7, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, the County Counsel presented a recommended ordinance to ensure that all persons with the ability to pay for housing, whether through their own funds or using a subsidy such as Section 8, are considered for housing. By adopting the proposed recommendation, the County would join dozens of jurisdictions that proscribe rental discrimination based on income source, and help to promote access to housing for all. This item is a committee report on that ordinance.

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

When:  February 16, 2017, 10am, Board of Supervisors’ Chambers

Link to agenda:


Valley Transportation Authority

Feedback on draft guidelines for Measure B funding

Beginning next week, VTA advisory committees will get their first look at the proposed guidelines for carrying out dozens of transportation projects slated for 2016 Measure B funding.

Starting Wednesday, February 8, VTA Planning staff will present draft guidelines for the Bicycle & Pedestrian, Caltrain Corridor Capacity Improvements, and Caltrain Grade Separation Program Areas to VTA’s Congestion Management Program and Planning Committee (CMPP) and four advisory committees –Policy (PAC), Technical (TAC), Citizens (CAC) and Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committees (BPAC).

Where: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

When: mulitple

Link to item:


City of San Jose

Councilmembers proposing issues for Priority Setting; incl. development policies near BART stations, public notice on land use proposals, public art fee, anti-displacement ordinance & more

Approve requests to agendize for City Council consideration during the City Council’s Priority Setting Session on February 28, 2017:

  • Revision to Council Policy 6-30. (Nguyen)
    1. A revision to Council Policy 6-30, Public Outreach Policy for Pending Land Use and Development Proposals to start the community engagement process sooner and better target neighborhoods that will be impacted for feedback
  • Build a Better BART Initiative. (Diep)
    1. Exploration of incentives and policies to attract commercial development near future BART stations
    2. Exploration of policies that will support the development of 100% deed restricted affordable housing near future BART stations; and
    3. Updating the citywide commercial development design guidelines (which have not been updated since 1989) and downtown design guidelines (which have not been updated since 2004) to create vibrant neighborhoods near transit
  • Personal Care Business (Massage Parlor) Compliance Initiative. (Peralez)
    1. An update to the San José Municipal Code (SJMC) requiring all personal care businesses that provide any form of massage services to provide a “state registration certification” and any required permits to be approved prior to receiving the City’s business tax certificate
  • SPUR Work Items. (Peralez)
    1. To augment the nominated Priority Setting item entitled “Priority Response to SPUR and Staff Identified Work Items”
  • Private Percent for Art Ordinance. (Carrasco)
    1. To explore a Private Percent for Art Ordinance. — 1% investment set aside for public art on new capital construction
  • Garage Conversion Ordinance. (Carrasco)
    1. To explore a Garage Conversion Ordinance to establish procedures whereby owner-occupants of single-family residential real property on which certain illegal garage conversions now exist would have a limited time to seek to legalize converted garages.
  • Anti-Displacement Preference Ordinance. (Carrasco)
    1. To explore the development of policy that will allow a set-aside in affordable housing developments that prioritizes residents who are being displaced that live in low-income neighborhoods undergoing displacement and/or gentrification.

Where: Public entity: San Jose Rules Committee

When: Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017, 1:30pm, W118-120

Link to agenda:  

Study session for proposed Community Choice Energy program – estimated over 100 additional jobs and $11.5M in labor income

Receive an update on the findings of the draft business plan for San José Clean Energy, and Continue to prepare City Council for a decision on whether to proceed with San José Clean Energy at the March 28, 2017 Council meeting.

Key Findings: Economic Development

SJCE could have a variety of economic development benefits within San José, such as through special economic development rates to incentivize manufacturing or job growth related to the local solar development. The estimated $23 million in electric bill savings to residents and businesses each year (full operation) under SJCE alone is estimated to result in:

  • Over 100 additional jobs in the San José area
  • $11.5 million in labor income
  • $18.5 million total value added

Next Steps: Following the Council Study Session on February 13, staff intends to host a community outreach meeting and incorporate both Council and public feedback into a final Business Plan and into Council recommendations for SJCE. Staff will return to Council in March/April 2017 with a recommendation on next steps.

Where:  San Jose Council Study Session

When:  Monday, Feb 13, 2017, 1:30pm, Council Chambers

Link to agenda:


City of Sunnyvale

Council priority setting for 2017 

Annual Council meeting to vote on priority policy and budget issues for the year. Council packet is not yet posted.

Where: Sunnyvale City Council

When: Feb. 17, 2017, 8:30 am

Link to agenda:


San Jose Evergreen Community College

Support Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) And Other Vulnerable Students  

The original resolution presented to the board on January 10 has been updated to include other vulnerable populations as a result of President Trump’s executive order banning refugees into the U.S. and limiting the migration of people from 7 Muslim-majority countries.

Where: SJECCD Board of Trustees

When:  02/14, 6:00pm at SJECCD Board Room

Link to agenda:


Gavilan College Board

Resolution in support of undocumented students

The Board will discuss a possible resolution stating the district’s support and commitment to undocumented students, and what language should be included in such a resolution. Following Board direction, a final resolution will be brought to the March Board meeting for review and approval.

Where: Gavilan College Board

When: 02/14, 7:00pm at Coyote Valley Site

Link to agenda packet:,%202017%20agenda%20packet.pdf


Santa Clara County Board of Education

Public hearing on Rocketship Alma Academy Charter

On January 20, 2017, the Charter Schools Office of the Santa Clara County Office of Education received a Petition for Renewal for Rocketship Alma Academy, a countywide K-5 charter school which serves 558 students and is located in the San Jose Unified School District.  Rocketship Alma Academy was approved on November 16, 2011, as Rocketship 7, and opened its doors during the fall of 2012.  If approved, Rocketship Alma Academy shall be renewed for five more years beginning July 2017 through June 30, 2022.


When: 02/15, 7:00pm at SCCBOE

Link to agenda:

Resolution in support of SCC undocumented students and families

Resolution designed to affirm support for undocumented students and families through the federal protections currently in place. It identifies SCCOE schools and programs as safe havens for student and their families and that information and training regarding the applicable laws will be shared with staff, families, and community partners.


When:  02/15, 7:00pm at SCCBOE

Link to agenda:

Resolution in support of the Dream Act

The Federal DREAM Act, first introduced in Congress in 2001, is a bipartisan legislation that opens the possibility of higher education, as well as a conditional pathway to US citizenship, for undocumented students who were brought to the US as children. The Santa Clara County Board of Education reaffirms its support of this legislation because of the impact it has for undocumented students and families.


When: 02/15, 7:00pm at SCCBOE

Link to agenda:


Cupertino Unified School District

Discussion on communication with community regarding safe haven for immigrant students

The board will discuss possible actions that may reduce the stress our immigrant families are facing as a result of the national elections and actions recently taken by President Trump.  Possible solutions presented include a Board Resolution, a letter to the community and/or resources posted on our District website for our families.

Where: CUSD Board

When: 02/14, 6:00pm at Stevens Creek Elementary

Link to agenda packet:


Milpitas Joins Regional Effort to Increase Minimum Wage

Tonight, the Milpitas City Council voted 4 to 0 to raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2019, three years sooner than mandated by the State of California. Workers in the City will see their first raise in July of this year.  Voting in support of $15 by 2019 were Council Members Marsha Grilli, Anthony Phan, Bob Nuñez and Mayor Rich Tran. Council Member Garry Barbadillo had to leave the meeting prior to the vote.

Milpitas is the seventh city in Santa Clara County to join the regional effort to raise the wage for workers struggling to survive in the extraordinary expensive Silicon Valley. This regional approach, including today’s vote in Milpitas, means that more than 80% of county’s population is covered by an increased minimum wage.


Khamis v. Liccardo for Mayor?

The rumor around City Hall is that Republican Council Member Johnny Khamis is considering running for Mayor against Sam Liccardo in 2018. Is it no surprise that Council veteran Khamis was hoping to be appointed Vice Mayor and was handed a blow when Liccardo bowed to the political reality of a more progressive City Council by appointing Magdalena Carrasco instead.  While this slight might be the motivator in inspiring Khamis to run against his often-time ally, perhaps Khamis is making the move because he sees his clout on the Council diminishing as a more progressive majority sets the Council agenda.


Policy Watch

City of San Jose

Approving Ad-Hoc Council Committee on Development Services to facilitate private sector development; Mayor Liccardo to chair

As recommended by the Rules and Open Government Committee on July 27, 2016, approve the creation of an Ad-Hoc Committee on Development Services and setting the following dates for the meetings to be held in the City Manager’s Conference Room.

August 25, 2016 9:00 – 10:30am

September 29, 2016 9:00 – 10:30am

October 27, 2016 9:00 – 10:30am

November 18, 2016 10:30 – 12:00pm

December 15, 2016 9:00- 10:30am

The Agenda for the meetings will address: (1) Key Process Improvements, including updating performance metrics, creating a development services dashboard, and implementing change management, cost of service study adjustments, and code reform programs; (2) Update on Development Services staffing, filled positions and vacancies; (3) Status Report on Major Development Projects in Entitlement and Construction Process; and, (4) Customer/Public Feedback.

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The Latest on Who Is Running for Which City of Santa Clara Council Seat

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:

Seat 3
*Debi Davis
John McLemore

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Lan Diep Beats Manh Nguyen…AGAIN

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.



Advice To The San Jose City Council: How To Deal With The Chamber Of Commerce’s Lies

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.

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Former Staffer Claims Khanna Lied About Owing Him Money

In an article published on, Bill Ferguson, a former Ro Khanna staffer, says Khanna refused to pay him $6,000 for work done during an unsuccessful 2004 Congressional race and is now lying about the money owed.  Khanna claims that Ferguson has been paid.  However, emails sent between the two men, starting as far back as July of 2004, show Khanna acknowledging his debt to Ferguson.  Ferguson spent 10 years asking Khanna to pay him.  Each time Khanna came back with an excuse and no payment. Up to now, the focus has been on Khanna’s refusal to pay a debt he owes, but the bigger issue is Khanna’s credibility.  Not only does Khanna owe Ferguson money, but now Khanna appears to be lying about it.


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