Why a Unanimous Vote?

The vote on the convention center has been covered extensively, but a resident I spoke to asked me to please share my view on San Jose Inside. As we know, the Council vote was unanimous in supporting the renovation and expansion.  Although I cannot speak for my colleagues, I would say there were four major constituencies who advocated for the renovation and expansion of the convention center.

1. Building Trades & Building Industry. Public works projects pay prevailing wage and will provide construction jobs for the next two years in an industry that suffers from 30 percent unemployment. In addition, as the economy is slow, the cost to build is lower. 

2. Local hotels have taxed themselves to pay for the bonds that will pay for the renovation and expansion. The hotels did not tax themselves to pay for parks and code enforcement. Hotels want more room nights, which is the key to their success. The hotel tax makes the bond payments, not the general fund.

3. Team San Jose wants a convention center that is the best it can be to market its usage and close deals on convention and event business.

4. The Downtown Association is an advocate for investment and activity in our Downtown. Whether you value our Downtown or not, a substantial investment has been made to create a city center. The convention center drives activity and business in our Downtown.

If you think about it, convention centers are located globally in major cities. In most cases, they are loss leaders to bring travelers and spending to their respective town. Or you may feel that convention centers are a subsidy to the hotel industry or a subsidy to adjacent private property owners or a subsidy to airports or a subsidy to unions or all of the above. 
The global convention traveler generates tax revenue with hotel taxes, sales taxes and airport taxes for the respective city, and in turn creates jobs for the hotel, convention, restaurant, airport, taxi and retail worker. In very few cases, such as Las Vegas, convention centers are profitable. 

Personally, I would have liked to have had the Council study selling the convention center to a private entity, but there is zero chance of getting that passed on the Council and I pick my battles.

So—we are in the convention business and therefore responsible for upkeep to the existing facility. How do we pay for it? The reality is that if the renovation was not covered by bonds paid for by the hotels it would come up out of the general fund. So replacing the HVAC system and other core improvements ($46 million) would have fallen on the general fund.

Another factor in the decision was the design-build process. When it is said the expansion will cost $63 million, it will really cost $63 million. As design- build says, “here is my budget,” thus build it for this price or else, since I do not have any more money. This is the same process that was used at the airport and which was delivered on time and on budget.  Bill Sherry, who headed that endeavor at the airport, will be overseeing this project as well.  Mr. Sherry, now in charge of Team San Jose, is well respected and the Council is confident in his capabilities.

I am not bullish about all convention centers due to technology like web meetings and the modern day hassles of travel. However, I would not have supported this renovation and expansion had the hotels not taxed themselves. The hotels have been a collecting a 4 percent tax since July 2009 that will cover the bond payments. In case the 4 percent tax falls short there will be an additional 1 percent tax collected from the hotels. 

There is risk. For example, if we had a major earthquake that destroyed a Downtown hotel that then was unable to book rooms for several years we would have risk to the general fund. However I am guessing if that earthquake comes to pass we will face larger issues like looking for canned food.

The only public testimony at the council meeting came from a retired city employee who is on the executive committee of the San Jose Retired Employees Association.  His comments, and those that were sent to Council, were in favor of renovation and expansion, stating that now is the time. I understand there will be criticism of strategic decisions from some but at least let there be criticism with a 360-degree view.

100 Comments

  1. So I am pretty much done with you and the rest of the city politicians. I had a glimmer of hope that you all had the best interest for the city and its employees and citizens, but after learning and reading about what You and Licardo are trying to do in regards to not working with the employees, I see you all had your own personal intrest in mind. You are pretty much tell everyone thanks for giving what we asked for but we lied and now we want more from you.  All my trust is gone with you all. Its pretty sad and pathetic on your part how you are acting. I thought we were all working together but I guess you lied. How do you really sleep knowing that you rather ruin the lives of employees by laying off hundreds of employees just so you can prove a point or get your pet projects takin care of. All the good faith and working together that was starting to happen between the employees and the mayor and council has been decimated by the childish and pathtic actions you and licardo have done.  I am beyond DISGUSTED with you and the council!!!

    • How do you sleep knowing you get a pension on the back of the taxpayers? How do you sleep when our city has to cut library hours to pay you a pension that is much more than you paid in for your retirement?

      • I sleep well knowing I get a pension that was promised to me and well deserve. I sleep well knowing when cowards like yourself cant confront the bad part of society and need to call people like myself who have the stones to stand up to these people and fight. Knowing that part of my compensation will be givin to me later in life. Thats how I sleep, VERY WELL!!

      • Annie, How do you sleep knowing there might be fewer police officers or fire fighters who work 24/7/365 ready to do what ever is necessary to keep you safe?

        What exactly does a “library” do to keep you safe?

      • Annie, I will be sleeping just fine.  I sleep fine knowing that I will be puting in 30yrs for the city, and serving the citizens, knowing that after 30yrs my body will be beat up and broken, or may be killed in the process. Ask any fireman or cop that has put the years in and they will let you know that they have had knee, shoulder, hip replacements, lumbar discs fused together. Or the respirtory issues that come up after countless fires and smoke that are inhaled. Or the lesions that some have found on their lungs and had to be removed due to toxic smoke. Oh and more back injuries than i can count. And when they do retire its one health issue after another that they need to deal with due to the years they put in.  So seems like the pensions are put in the back of the workers who have put their body on the line for their pensions.

        • CalPERS actuary David Lamoureux. A CalPERS presentation called “Preparing for Tomorrow,” from the retirement fund’s 2008 educational forum. The presentation features various “pension myth busters.”

          Here is Myth #4 (presented as part of a Power Point presentation): “Safety members do not live as long as miscellaneous members.” CalPERS officials explain that “rumor has it that safety members only live a few years after retirement.” Actuarial data answers the question: “Do they actually live for a shorter time?” The presentation considers the competing facts: “Safety members tend to have a more physically demanding job, this could lead to a shorter life expectancy. However, miscellaneous members sit at their desk and might be more at risk to accumulating table muscle!” Fire officials, by the way, make identical claims about dying as early as police officials.

          For answers, CalPERS looked at an experience study conducted by its actuarial office in 2004. It looked at post-retirement mortality data for public safety officials and compared it to mortality rates for miscellaneous government workers covered by the CalPERS system.

          Here are the CalPERS life expectancy data for miscellaneous members:

          —If the current age is 55, the retiree is expected to live to be 81.4 if male, and 85 if female.
          —If the current age is 60, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82 if male, and 85.5 if female.
          —If the current age is 65, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82.9 if male, and 86.1 if female.

          Here is the CalPERS life expectancy data for public safety members (police and fire, which are grouped together by the pension fund):

          —If the current age is 55, the retiree is expected to live to be 81.4 if male, and 85 if female.
          —If the current age is 60, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82 if male, and 85.5 if female.
          —If the current age is 65, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82.9 if male, and 86.1 if female.

          That’s no mistake. The numbers for public safety retirees are identical to those of other government workers. As CalPERS notes, average public safety officials retiree earlier than average miscellaneous members, so they receive their higher level of benefits for a much longer time.

          Here is CalPERS again: “Verdict: Myth #4 Busted! Safety members do live as long as miscellaneous members.”

          The next time you hear this “we die early” misinformation from a cop, firefighter or other public-safety union member (most of them probably believe it to be true, given how often they have read this in their union newsletters), send them to CalPERS for the truth!

        • On my last paycheck that is what it looks like: just under $1k from me and just under $1.5k from the city per paycheck.

        • It doesn’t matter how long cops or firefighters live. I did a simple interest calculation using the figures posted on SJI and on the website for the San Jose Police and Fire retirement website. I performed these calculations assuming annually compounded interest at 4% (worst performing years, historically), 6% and 8% (typical returns over the last couple decades) and using the current 60/40 city/police contribution ratios and at the current top step contribution rates.

          Using this information, it seems to me that, after 20 years at a 8% return rate, the retiree can be paid his/her pension and health insurance costs off the interest alone and never touch the principal. The same is true at 4% and 30 years. Of course, this doesn’t account for the COLA increase, but, over the course of 30 years (retirement at 51, death at 81) I don’t think that the principal could completely depleted before the retiree dies.

          But, I have an idea which is a sort of hybrid plan and I wonder how many cops and firefighters would go for this it: what if, instead of a lifetime benefit, they were offered a defined benefit with a guaranteed rate of return which splits the difference between the worst performing years at 4% and highest performance of the fund? What if the city were to say this: “You put in your funds, and we put in our funds at the current ratio of 40/60 (with the city’s contribution capped based on the current 23% employee contribution. We guarantee a minimum 6%, 7% or 8% rate of return (compounded monthly or annually)and pay the principal+interest in lump sum upon retirement? If the employee leaves the city prior to retirement, he or she is disbursed the principle and interest as a lump sum up to that point. If the employee dies prior to retirement, again the full lump sum to that point is paid out to his/her beneficiaries.”

          The way I see it, this solution becomes a win for everyone. Odds are that the city would make money on the retirement fund over and above the lump sum payout. Keep in mind that the AVERAGE rate of return on the pension fund is 8%, not 4% or 6%. This means that for many years, the return on investment was much higher. Odds are that the fund would continue to average 8% which would mean the city would actually pocket that additional return on investment.

          The benefits to the retiree are numerous: while still employed, he could reduce upon retirement, he/she can roll the lump sum into a deferred comp account, continue to earn interest and have complete control over the annual income. The same is true if he or she takes employment elsewhere. Odds are that most of his/her annual retirement income would be interest paid out on principal and, his or her beneficiaries would have the same earning potential in the event of his or her death instead of only receiving a small fraction of the pension from the city when the retiree dies. This money, like an IRA or other retirement plan can be willed to adult children into their own deferred comp accounts or into tax-deferred education plans for children or grandchildren… bottom line is that there’s alot more flexibility for the retiree and his/her family.

          In this way, the city is off the hook for a LIFETIME benefit as well as accommodating the COLA and the employee knows that he will retire very comfortably with a DEFINED benefit sufficient to provide for him and his family whether or not he dies 2 years after he retires or 40. This new defined benefit could be established as a 2nd tier and I suspect that, once existing employees spoke with financial advisers, many might be inclined to opt in to the 2nd tier.

          That just leaves the medical issue and I suspect some hybrid plan might be developed as well.

          Just an idea…

        • Thank you for that info but the subject of my previous post was the injuries and the qualitiy of life that that cops and firefighters have, not the mortality after they retire. Sure your info states that the mortality rate is all the same but does it look into the injuries, surgeries, career ending injuries, physical therepy that are sustained during their career. Or that some guys have to stay in bed during their days off because the night before they had a fire at 1am and now their back is locked up and they cant move. And before you try and throw different stats, why dont you go and ask firefighters and cops and get the info straight from them and not from some goverment stats, because we all know how accurate and truthful the goverment is, ha right!

        • the 60/40 is a misused fact. 8:3 is the correct ratio for cty:employee pension payments.

          The 60%/40% is the split that many Cities (big and small) spend on Public Safety (which MOST people would define as police and fire.) 60% being the percentage SPENT on Police and Fire. Keep that in mind when you read what SJ spends…

          San Jose ( in 2010-2011 budget year) approved spending $48.7MILLION ($486,894,767) on Police and Fire out of its General Fund Budget.  A big number! Right?  Big until you consider that the General Fund for 2010-2011 was $3.24BILLION (yes with a “B” or $3,244,428,899) or a measly 15%. 

          It could be said that San Jose spends 1/4 the percentage of its general fund on public safety that most other Cities spend.  You cold say that unless you buy in to the giberish some spew that defines “public safety” as “longer library hours, community pools being open” and other such nice to have but not at all necessary programs.

        • I’ve answered this question, anecdotally on another blog, but it’s a fair question so I’d like to answer it here too. I get together regularly with an active duty sergeant, a retired officer and a retired sergeant. We added it up and together, we’ve had 23 surgeries for work-related injuries. With 11 years on, I’ve got the fewest with 3, going on 4. The retired officer has had 9 for various reasons. I have a torn meniscus in both knees. I have no cartilage left in one of my thumb joints. I have permanent nerve damage and soft tissue intrusion on another nerve in my right arm. I already have a 26% disability rating. My dad was a San Jose cop. He retired a few years ago after 33 years on the job and at nearly 60 years old – far too long on the job in my estimation. He had 5 surgeries on his knees, having ruptured both ACL’s. He has a torn bursa in his shoulder which never healed properly. He would limp everywhere he goes… if he could sort out which was the good knee and which not so good. I know another officer who was almost crippled after being rammed in his patrol car by a armed robbery suspect. I know another who was medically retired after he broke his leg on duty.

          Odds are that you could go into any briefing, on any shift, go to the front of the briefing room, close your eyes and throw a rock out into the room and have really great odds of hitting an officer who’s been injured on duty.

        • Where’d you get that 60/40 ratio?

          I see in the city charter “shall not exceed the ratio of three (3) for such officers and employees to eight (8) for the City” in section 1504 (b).

          So 3+8=11 right?  And 3/11=27.2 and 8/11=72.7

          I think details are important in math and public finance.

        • I’ve posted this elsewhere on SJI. When I refer to that40/60 split, I mean that, on my pay stub, it says that just under $1000 of my gross pay goes toward the pension fund and the city puts just under $1500 toward the pension fund.

          However, I agree with you about the rest of it. It’s really astonishing that San Jose spends so little on public safety and has the gall to lump libraries and such into public safety as Mayor Reed apparently has.

      • annie:why are you such a hater of the public servants who chose this profession because they want to help citizens in need? instead, you should hate the fact that you, a taxpayer, are paying pension and medical for the mayor and city council members who work 2 terms, for the rest of their lives. What a deal for them-they work part time, make more than the public servants that work full time, and are set for life after only putting in 8 years instead of 30 like the rest of us. I sleep because I’m exhausted from having to deal with cry-babies like you. Times are hard, everyone is making sacrifices, the libraries as well, so get over it and we’ll all sleep better.

        • fire-d-up,

          Councilmembers participate in the retirement system much the same as city employees however they serve for a limited time as they typically do not work for The City prior or after their term.

          Assuming no changes are made to the current retirement system, Councilmembers past and present are credited 2% of their salary for each year. So 8 years on the Council with current salary of $81,000($110/month car allowance not pensionable) would be an approximate $12,960 retirement payout when reaching the qualified retirement age. The contribution rate is the same as it is for other city employees, the 8 to 3 ratio laid out in the City Charter. Councilmembers DO NOT qualify for retiree medical, accrue sick leave or vacation.

          From my perspective it is the most generous retirement plan I have participated in as my work experience has been with private companies that offer a 401K with no employer match.

          Pierluigi

        • thank you for that information, Pierluigi. That doesn’t seem like much for all the crap you get. I guess it shows that we are all doing what we do, not for the money, but because we believe in what we are doing benefits and serves others. Too bad the Mercury (Wooley)is spreading such a smear campaign against us firefighters and making us look like greedy evil servants. If only the public knew some of the horrible things I’ve seen over the last 20+ years-they would agree, there isn’t enough money in the world to pay for those images. Only a war veteran or cop would relate.

      • If you really knew how hard I had to work for that pension and salary, you’d give me a raise and shut your trap.

  2. Speaking of convention centers being loss-leaders for other business activity, in the case of SJ, the whole of downtown is a loss-leader!

  3. Pierluigi mentioned that there was no opposition testimony at the council meeting.
    Suppose several hundred angry taxpayers HAD showed up and testified in opposition to the proposal of our broke City borrowing another $63 million? Would the Council vote have been different? I suspect that it would have been. I’m pretty sure that when faced with real pressure from actual constituents who are sitting right there watching them, the vote would have been quite different.
    E-mailing your councilperson is futile. Phoning them is a waste of time. Letting our Councilpersons know how we feel has ZERO effect unless we do it publicly in a forum in which they can’t simply pretend we don’t exist. Which means that our “representatives” aren’t really representatives at all.

      • People who have a financial stake? You mean like Tom Mcenry, sobrato and others who get millions from you and Charles (G)reed!

      • Pier,
        I have quick question for you.
        Considering the massive budget deficit last year, and the Cities assortment of accountants, attorneys, and economic forecasters, one would assume you knew there would be a massive budget deficit this coming year (am I wrong or right?)

        Having that in mind my question is this:  Why didn’t city management propose a ballot initiative to reallocate RDA assets in light of the coming financial storm we are in today.  We are told time and time again that those assets can’t be used towards the general fund……But, if voters approve (which they would have if properly informed) that money could have been moved into the general fund to pay for essential city services.

        Why was this not done?  Was it because our cities leaders are so inept at predicting future economic hardship, or was it because you refuse to empty you political slush fund know as the RDA?

        Jump ahead to today……..Why haven’t any city leaders proposed doing a special vote to reallocate the money, now that we know for sure we are broke.  You guys are so concerned about Gov. Brown taking away your RDA money that you are doing all kinds of shady things to hide it from him.  Why not just put it to the voters and move the money into the general fund before the State takes it anyways?  Oh I forgot, you are on the hook for a lot of political campaign contributions to developers and companies that are expecting to be paid back with “sweat heart deal” projects.

        Please respond and enlighten me, if I am totally wrong on this one.

      • well that comment makes it sound like you are making your decisions based on those present at the council meeting, those who will financially benefit from the proposals.  and answer me this why is it the “Chamber” has to express the approval over everything the council does. why does it seem the council seeks there approval more so then that of the public in general who are paying for all of this. especially after we the TAX Payers voted this same idea of expanding and renovating the convention center down when you asked us. What when you don’t like the rules change them. just like how you miss lead the public with the measure V and W campaign.

  4. An ancillary benefit of groups having conventions, besides just getting together under one roof, is to enjoy amenities offered by the host convention city.  San Jose is extremely short in the things to do/see tourist department when compared to SF or even Great America in SC.  It can be argued that the reconstruction of historic buildings add to the appeal of a city’s charm and personality thus improving the odds of attracting business.

    I believe San Jose has a long history of shooting itself in the foot when it comes to preserving and enhancing unique and interesting landmarks and this does not help attract visitors to an expanded convention center that will have to be priced in the range of more exotic locals, i.e., New Orleans, Seattle and yes San Francisco.

    Since long range planning not seem to be a requirement necessary to be a city council person perhaps a concerted effort should be made urging the council to approve the destruction of the old MLK with the proviso that the city counter that loss with the enhancement of another downtown historic structure to help ensure there will be incentives to draw convention crowds to help pay off the bonds.

    Also it might be fruitfull to explore a partnership with Santa Clara Convention Center to team up and market as one – put those historic trolly cars to use – shuttle visitors back and forth – the track is there – so are the hotels.

    But please do something beside gamble on building a bigger box – destinations need attractions to get people to come.  San Jose has zilch – note the Grey Line tourist buses seen around town – nada. 

    Finally that Team San Jose has zero imagination in marketing and promotion.

    • Money for historical preservation is gone with the death of the RDA. RDA spent millions on preserving and renovating historical buildings. Those days are over. We now only have what the State requires which is half a person.  However we still have a chance at preservation of older neighborhoods that relies less on continued government funding.

      Pierluigi

      • No real city would abandon historic preservation like SJ has. Why is preservation only the responsibility of the soon-to-be-gone RDA? If this was a Council priority you would not be shifting the blame to the death of RDA.
        By the time a future Council finally “gets” historic preservation it will be too late—we will have lost most of our remaining historic structures to demolition, neglect, vandalism, or a combination of all of them.
        And to think this city could have been a contender at one time.

        • Hmmm…. seems like we’ve been to the same places.

          North 5th St, perhaps? 

          By the way, what an excellent description of what we’ve seen. THIS is what all the haters need to see if they ever did a ride along.  They’d run back out to the sidewalk to barf in the gutter.

        • @ AnonFF, I guarantee you we are talking about the same place, the same people, the same sorts of incidents, over and over again. You and I and our peers all know how sad this situation is, how our tax dollars are wasted with very little oversight or accountability.

          And, what makes me really really sick is the way you get certain neighborhood activists who go absolutely nuts when one of their neighbors tries to cut down or trim a tree and yet are deafeningly silent at the abysmal treatment and care of the mentally ill patients living right around the corner. It is such a sad commentary that they care more about a glorified plant than they do about these shattered shells of people shambling around their neighborhoods EVERY SINGLE DAY. How easy it is for them to turn a blind, uncaring eye to these everyday tragedies.

          For what it’s worth, I appreciate you guys being there and I appreciate the professionalism, day in and day out. Keep up the good fight. Stay safe.

        • Don’t get me started on the historic preservation issue. Seems like once a week, downtown,I go to a call at some board and care facility that’s been set up in a house which was, once upon a time, a beautiful victorian or craftsman, and is now a debased, defaced, shabby, shattered shell of its former glory and beauty. Further, as often as not, they are run by people who can barely communicate with those in their care (to say they are ESL is overly generous) care little for the health and well-being of their charges, do little to ensure they are cared for, and basically do little to ensure that the people who live there are more than shells of what a person could be. I can’t begin to describe to you how often we deal with filthy, unkempt, toothless, shuffling people living half-lives at best under the guidance and care of people who have only a passing interest in their well-being.

          Really, the whole thing is a tragedy on so many levels, it just makes me sick. Shadows of people living in shabby shells of homes. It’s truly an awful bit of symmetry.

        • Give me a bit to get the statistical data in hand. Usually these things take about a week. But I will see if I can put a rush on it. I am sure this opportunity would be enlightening for all.

        • And, for any council member who disbelieves me, I will take any council member on a ride-along to show them what it’s really like at the places which are the worst offenders. Perhaps while we are at it, I could put together a document showing all the disturbances, assaults, missing person calls, and 5150’s calls these places generate. Then, after, I would like for that council member to articulate to me how living in one of these board and care homes is a better alternative than living in a safe, professionally run mental health institution.

          A few years ago, listening to a radio presentation from the Commonwealth Club, I heard a mental health advocate state that ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ represents the single biggest setback for the treatment of the mentally ill, because it portrayed a set of conditions which only infrequently existed in mental health institutions and was one of the catalysts for the transition of the mentally ill out of larger institutions into board and care facilities. After 11 years in law enforcement, I completely agree.

        • JG, I assure you he’ll survive little worse for wear. I think the the only thing on PLO that might suffer a bit is his ear from me bending it. I suspect we all might be surprised at the outcome though. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get conversational recap posted here on SJI?

        • I am not sure where my reply to this comment went, but let me try again. I assure you JG, the worst that might happen to PLO is a little bit of neck pain from me bending his hear for several hours. I am sure he’ll survive none the worse for wear and I suspect we will both find the experience illuminating.

        • I am looking forward to reading 2 blow by blow descriptions of this ‘ride along’ should it ever eventuate- one by Councilman Oliverio (sounds like he’ll be lucky if he survives) and one by Officer D.

          Please do keep us all apprised of the details.

      • I’m scratching my head, trying to recall when the RDA ever did anything in the realm of preservation.  Seems to me that they were largely responsible for turning downtown into a collection of parking lots and later allowing developers to build one ugly structure after another.

        • RDA funded the seismic retrofit and restoration on many of the buildings through out the Downtown. Notable ones like the Jose Theater which is now the Improv and the California Theater which home to SJ Opera and Symphony Silcon Valley.

          Pierluigi

  5. John,

    You have far too much faith in our Councilwhores.  Hundreds of constituents with opposing testimony would have been given the invisible bird and allowed to speak for only 30 seconds.  Then Reverend Reed would have called for a vote and, like sheep, the vote would have been unanimously in favor.

  6. Of course there was no public testimony. It is a waste of time to speak at a Council meeting. This was a done deal and no amount of opposition was going to change that.
    You didn’t say anything about the $2.6 million to demolish the historic MLK library. How do you spin that to justify the decision?

    • I wouldn’t shed much of a tear for the loss of the old library except for the fact that it’s a waste of a perfectly good building. It’s better to simply fix it up and use it to hold all of the city bureaucrats that won’t fit in the Taj Gonzales.

      If they need to expand the convention center, let’s get rid of the ugly tent on the back parking lot and do the extension there.

    • Council voted (I believe unanimously) to knock down old MLK in a separate vote in summer 2010. Two people spoke at the council meeting. Both were historical preservationists. One person said the building should be saved and the other spoke eloquently why it was not a significant structure. Old MLK is an example of “Brutish” architecture. (not kidding about brutish)

      Pierluigi

      • As with most things relating to historic preservation and the City Council, you don’t have your facts quite correct.
        I believe you mean “Brutalism”, not “brutish”. Brutish better describes the actions of a City Council ignoring historic reports and voting to demolish a historic building anyway.
        Just another black mark on a city that will never achieve greatness. A city that ignores its past has a very bleak future. Perhaps you can champion a new form of architecture—“bleakish.”

  7. The same story just a different building,
    How many times have the taxpayers been told, “this project won’t cost you anything, don’t worry it will pay for itself”?  Time and time again you politicians have made decisions with our money, decisions that have done nothing but burden the city under mountains of debt.  It has all been lies, on the part of the city council, mayor, and City Manager. 

    You lied to us about building the new city hall, “don’t worry, consolidating all city employees into one building will pay the extra costs of construction”.  Lies, The new City Hall is nothing but a monster mortgage payment that doesn’t even come close to paying for itself.

    You lied to us about building the new terminal at the airport, to the tune of 1.2 billion.  “don’t worry, the new terminal will attract new business and will pay for itself.”  Lies, the new airport construction has done little to nothing to attract new airlines, and passengers. 

    You lied to us about building a new baseball stadium.  “don’t worry the A’s will pay for the construction costs”  Lies, the taxpayers will pay for the land and the stadium will generate very few, low paying jobs (i.e. hotdog vendors).

    You lied to us about remodeling the Convention Center.  “don’t worry the hotels will pick up the tab for the remodel.”  Lies, the amount of revenue generated from this new tax will take 30 plus years to repay.  Considering the new hotel tax has only collected 7.1 million in the 20 months that it has been in effect.  Thats 355,000 per month generated,  which breaks down to about 35 years to pay back 150mil WITHOUT INTEREST (that the amount of bonds you are issuing).  Are you planning on issuing 30 years bonds on this project?  I doubt it!  This new tax will not even come close to paying for the construction costs.

    Mayor Reed Said The renovation project will include $26 million for badly needed upgrades and allow the city to create a maintenance fund for future upkeep.  Now you are telling us: “So replacing the HVAC system and other core improvements ($46 million) would have fallen on the general fund.”  So which one is it Pier?  is 26 million going to upgrades and maintenance or is it the 46 million you just mentioned in the above article.  I think one of you is lying

    In light of the present dire financial situation of the city, I will make the following opinion:  The approval of this project coupled with the layoffs and concessions of thousands of police, fire, and city workers will be the end of your political career.  The citizens of this great city are seeing first hand the lies, and manipulation of their so called elected officials.  You have burdened us with debt and bombarded us with lies, time and time again.  We’ve had Enough

    • Average Citizen,

      I was not around for city hall or the start of airport process however I will be around for this project.  Let’s check back with each other and see who is right or wrong. $46 million includes: $13.7M for chillers, boilers, cooling towers and pumps AND $12.9M for new fire alarm and building management system AND $20M refurbish existing public spaces.

      Pierluigi

      • So was the Mayor understating the numbers or where you just overstating them?  You still haven’t answered my question……Is it 26 Million going to simple necessary upgrades to existing facilities or 46 Million.  What is this 20m to refurbish existing public places?  isn’t that what you are doing with the first 26 mill? I think we would all like to know exactly how much of this project is a necessity and how much is a luxury. 

        Pier you are right in saying that you weren’t around for the construction of the airport or new City hall.  The problem is you have the same, ‘spend it faster than we can print it’ mentality.  That kind of “creative thinking” is exactly what got us into the mess we are in today. 

        Don’t worry Pier…….Just keep spending the taxpayers money on stupid projects like this.  You can’t lay off public safety and in the same breath waste hundreds of millions on a stupid project like this.  The political fallout will be much heavier than you think.  Every news article that talks of layoffs will cite that fact that you just approved this project.  Citizens will be/are outraged that you traded the safety of their community for a new building they will never use.  You can tell the public all day long that its not their money, and a hotel tax will pay for everything.  The reality is we are not dumb and we understand we will be footing the bill for a large chunk of this project in the end.

      • Big O!  Are you kidding me?  New Fire alarm with lack of Fire Fighters?  You may not have been around when the 9 wounds church caught fire on Alum Rock.  The response by fire was excellent.  The response by equipment was a disaster.  Trucks arrived on scene but were unable to perform due to wear and tear over the years.  Suddenly San Jose decided to upgrade the fleet after that fiasco.
            We know budget cuts work multiple ways …pay, cutbacks and equipment.  Might be better to skip the project and invest the money for a future event center.  “Tax and spend” same old story.
            Get a real grasp on night life in San Jose.  Take a walk in the downtown garages and E. Zone from about 10PM. Make sure you got your Tennis Shoes on.
            Lastly, our great 1.5 billion dollar airport….  During your run from downtown for safety reasons don’t run to the airport.  As the 10th largest city in the country it closes at 11PM.
            So save the money, invest for the future of San Jose. This building is a misnomer.  Convention?  Use the Shark Tank with fold out chairs.

      • I don’t know if you know this or not Mr. Oliverio,  but I think it’s my duty to tell you that NONE of the items you have on your list work… Meaning the systems have not worked in years! 
        The Fire Alarm and Building A/C Management Systems DO NOT WORK and have not worked since 2004, nor does the CCTV System work. 
        I don’t know what Team San Jose management is telling you, but it’s all BullS**t…

        City Council-Member Constant, The City Safety Officer, City Attorney, City Fire Chief have been made aware of this major liability issue and they chose to turn their deaf ears to the City employees reporting these issues and some were laid off for being out spoken about this. 

        There is ( NO WORKING FIRE ALARM SYSTEM )at the San Jose Convention Center or it’s facilities.  You can check this out for yourself Pierluigi,then get back with US and the families of potential victims of a fire while they are visiting the Convention Center.

        Again,there are no working fire alarm systems on site.

        NONE!

        • PLO – If this is true and you and the City do nothing about it, the litigation against the City will make the current budget crisis seem like small change.
          This is unbelievable! And what is the reward for this incompetence? Team San Jose gets to continue mismanaging city assets. Great incentive program.
          And you wonder why nobody bothers to speak at a Council meeting. What a waste of time!

  8. The San Jose Convention Center is a TRASH PIT since TEAM SAN JOSE TOOK OVER.  Being rebuilt will NOT bring business back to San Jose.  As I have said time and time again, there is nothing for the attendees to do in San Jose. 

    A large percentage of the attendees do NOT go to High Society Plays or fancy restaurants.  They are pretty much a Burger and Fries crowd, especially after the City has just let the Hotels and TSJ rake them over the coals with a very high tax just for the rooms and parking. 

    This has been the worst City Administration since before Ron Gonzales, now that’s pretty bad. 

    There is a large contributing factor in why San Jose can no longer attract Conventions, they are called TEAM SAN JOSE. 

    If you don’t think that Convention Clients don’t read the news or trade news regarding San Jose’s horrible pick to run the Convention Center, I’m sure they have seen all the problems there has been in the last 7 years with TEAM SAN JOSE.  The fact that the quality of service at the Convention Center is so bad that none of the past and possible future clients will go to San Jose. 

    Bad news travels fast in this day and age and with tax money sucking vampires like TEAM SAN JOSE, it’s easy to see why no significant shows will ever return or new clients will ever book, unless it’s a Mexican Dance / Concert. 

    I figured when Council and the Mayor asked for documentation regarding where the taxpayers money has gone for projects and improvements and so on and every time let Dan Fenton slide / off the hook time after time.  As the Mayor had specifically ordered Fenton to not return unless he had documentation of where that money is or has gone.  Upon Fentons return every month he would (NEVER) have the documents and apologize to the Mayor and Council for not having the paperwork requested, which you all accepted.  This is horrible and shows that Fentons (twice a month visits to the Mayor and every Council member) helped put them in his pocket.

    I wonder how many free(5)Star Hotel accommodations and Meals Fenton gave as gifts?  My guess is that your all on the take and would bet if we looked closer we could find alot of dirty deeds no one wants out in public.   

    I see this entire Convention Center issue as a payoff between Fenton,the Mayor and many Council members.  If I had screwed up this bad and I was standing tall in front of the Mayor I’m sure I would not recieve the same treatment as Fenton. 

    Partly I think it’s because I don’t belong to the Downtown Rotary Club and have nothing to offer you at City Hall except $$$$ from my taxes.

    The Convention Center does not need to be rebuilt, it just needs a qualified company to use the money correctly and fix the problems that exsist with mechanical failures and updating.  no need to tear it down and start over and continue with TEAM SAN JOSE. 

    I have seen all of the Council members talk bad about TEAM SAN JOSE, then all of the sudden you talk really good about what they have done for the City, what would that be? 

    -Losing $20 Plus Million Dollars that cannot be accounted for? 

    -Creating a Scandal with a Corrupt CEO with a Napoleon / NERO Complex? 

    -Allowing Fenton to AGAIN take part in the renovation of the Convention Center under a different disguise… the Strategic Advisory Group as a partner.  They will have a big hand in this San Jose Convention Center renovation project. 
    I could go on all day about this…

    Let me see if I have this correct… Embattled TSJ CEO leaves Convention Center under duress, Can’t tell anyone where $20 Million has gone, incurs millions in lawsuits for the City. 

    -Leaves unpaid debt with creditors,

    -is given a huge severance package that would choke a horse, and within a month of leaving TEAM SAN JOSE, his head pops up like the true “weasel he is” again dealing with City Tax Payer Money and The Convention Center. 

    I would say there is something wrong with this entire picture…  It has the look of Money Laundering.

    PLO you and ASH need speech classes as you both start out ok when trying to make a point, but then start talking in circles and go over what has already been covered by your prior multilevel responses.  You start losing us and putting us to sleep.  No BS really you do. 

    Just be direct and to the point and keep it to (two minutes) or less just like us stupid poor folk at the podium.

    Old Frank

  9. This is the city hall building fiasco all over again and 10 years later. Only difference is that 10 years ago the city council didn’t lay-off 450 police officers to help finance it, as they are going to do this year.

    Also, it makes no difference to speak up at a city council meeting as it falls on deaf ears.

    This is a disgrace.

    • I think there is a difference since I believe city hall was paid for by city funds. Convention center addition paid for by hotels.

        • Harry and Pierluigi,

          Harry you read and believed what Pierluigi wrote, but what he wrote mistates the facts:

          …“2. Local hotels have taxed themselves to pay for the bonds that will pay for the renovation and expansion….”

          Local hotels DID NOT “tax themselves.” The hotels merely collect the tax on behalf of the City. The “transient use tax” is 10% of the room rent split with 6% going to the General Fund and 4% going to the “Special Fund” or “Fund 461.”  (Blair there is another instance of the “60/40” split.

          If anyone thinks that the hotels simply take 10% of the rent they charge and give it to the City I have a Convention Center and old City Hall I would like to sell you… No, they take the rent and add 10% on top… that means anyone who rented a hotel room in that last 5-6 years in SJ paid the tax. It also means that hotels lost business when the cost of a room went up 10% on top of having a dumpy (McEnery) Convention Center.

      • Harry,

        They, the City and TEAM SAN JOSE will tell your that the renovation is from the Hotels and the 536 fund. 

        Ha!  536 fund is a code name for the money, and it’s funneled from the City General Fund and is distributed to the various hotels and TEAM SAN JOSE under the name of 536 fund. 

        Not until last year did this “made up” fund come out of the shadows.  I’m pretty sure that it was Reed-Fenton designed fund name that was made up to confuse the public taxpayers to keep us knowing the truth of where the money is coming from. 

        Harry, this Convention Center Expansion will be paid for by the taxpayers.  Furthermore The last time I looked the San Jose Convention Center is a City of San Jose Property and belongs to you and me, not the Hotels or TEAM SAN JOSE as they would have you believe. 

        So in that The City and anyone else needs to put any thing like this renovation to a vote with the Citizens. 

        This was done about 12 plus years ago when the thought of expansion was first brought up, it was put on the ballot and was defeated hands down. 

        Basically the public spoke and said that we didn’t want to waste OUR money on this nightmare. 

        Skip ahead to present day… How come we haven’t voted on this issue recently???? Council does not have the power to overturn a ballot decision by the voters.  The Council wants to sneak this expansion by all of us as if we are stupid. 

        Look at what TSJ did with their big idea for expansion, they put up that STUPID Blue Circus Tent in the big parking lot to the rear of the building.  That place sits empty all the time unless there is a low rider car show in there. 

        So $7 Million Dollars for a tent that is never used, nice way to waste my tax dollars and Council isw fine with this waste and is laying off Cops – Fire Fighters and City Employees to save their friends special projects and requests.

        What a shame.

        Old Frank

        • “…they put up that STUPID Blue Circus Tent in the big parking lot to the rear of the building.”

          That was ANOTHER multi-million dollar fiasco waste of the taxpayers money…and the employee is blamed for the debt crisis. Tsk Tsk. Sooner you all open your eyes to the truth, the sooner you will take action to stop the waste and correct the mess this mayor has made. RECALL! Do not ever vote another member of the council into the mayor’s slot. You’ll get more of the same old waste and BS.

        • Oh don’t worry, I’ll make our money back on the circus tent.

          We can have weekly “American Idol” style entertainment there on Sunday SUNDAY SUNDAAAAY!  Where we pit the elected officials we don’t like against each other, in a 3 Judge Elimination.

          We’ll have Frank and Novice as Judges.  Novice can be Simon, Frank can be Randy, we still need someone who’s sympathetic to losers, so let’s give ‘ol Mr Fenton the job as Paula Abdul.

          We’ll add a dispensiary, but since folks can’t use on site, we’ll let the zombie hoard of stoners toke it out in the parking lot.  In their zombie stoner zen, they’ll drop professionally wrapped 420 goodies for our children to enjoy.  Easter is right around the corner, perhaps we could give them rabbit ears and say they’re the easter bunnies!

          You’ll need medication to listen to the neverending assault listening to these windbags sing.

          We’ll throw a few Roulette wheels, card tables and a “Escort Service Desk” at the back.  No these aren’t “Prostitutes”  (wink nod)  I’ll have a gigantic brass pole installed and we can throw strippers in there.

          Of course, I’ll need millions of dollars to make this happen.  Let’s just issue a bond.  My kids owe me, let them pay it off the little bastards.

          One shortcut to that would be to give the land back to the Ohlone Indians, on the condition that they turn it into a huge Indian Casino.

          Who’s with me?

          /sarcasm

  10. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Association of Santa Clara Valley and the Honorable Council Member Chu will be holding a series of monthly community meetings based on vital topics facing our community.

    Due to the failing economy, and dwindling resources, our community is in crisis. To support the public in getting assistance for ourselves or our loved ones during these difficult times, and to help educate us in helping a family member or friend in crisis, the first meeting will be on the issue of Mental Health, and available resources. The discussion will include an understanding of how the San Jose Police Department responds to requests for help with a mentally ill family member/friend, and how we can better assist them when placing a call for help.

    Please join us:

    When: Wednesday, March 23rd

    Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm

    Where: San Jose City Hall
    200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, Ca. 95113

    Room: West Wing 118-119

    (Translators for Vietnamese and Spanish speaking people will be provided.)

    Parking at City Hall will be validated at the meeting, so please bring your ticket.

    Presenters will be:

    Police Chief Moore

    Pat Dwyer
    Law Enforcement Liaison For The County of Santa Clara

    Teresa Jeglum
    San Jose Police Department Crisis Management Unit
    Crisis Intervention Team

    Geoff Sumner
    San Jose Police Department Crisis Management Unit

    Dr. Jorge Wong
    Behavioral Health Services Director of Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)

    Sarita Kohli
    Director of Mental Health Programs at Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)

    There will be one hour of presenters, and a one hour written question and answer period.

    Please pass this on to your contacts, family members, and friends.

    For more information please email Kathleen Flynn, Vice President of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Association at [email protected], or call 408-861-5323. Thank you, and we hope to see you there.

      • It had nothing to do with her boycotting Pierluigi. Kathleen and I serve on the same Board. She posted it the first time on SJI, and I posted it the 2nd time.

      • “Due to the failing [public sector] economy…”

        The response of the public sector to changing market realities is less than nimble.  Shrinking tax base, declining revenues and out of control costs…lets study the problem for awhile and maybe hire some experts to advise us.

  11. Mr. Oliverio:

    How is it that Airport funds are being paid to the City for City services, when you said that can’t be done?  I’m confused.

    How is it that City has loaned the RDA millions of dollars, while the RDA turns around and gives millions of dollars to a former mayor, millions to campaign contributors, millions to pay for stadium land? 

    How is it that you and the rest of the council have voted to set aside millions for severance pay for the employees of the RDA?  Did the laid off janitors or the laid off firefighters get a severance?

    • just Anon 4 now,

      The Airport contracts with The City for services. For example if the Airport needs an attorney than it uses an attorney from City of San Jose. San Jose then bills the Airport for the attorney time.

      If you are speaking about the SERAF loan I advocated paying the State with our affordable housing dollars that Governor Arnold allowed.

      RDA employees are non-union and have no bumping rights or seniority. They will get a severance. Janitors were part of the city retirement system and will get a pension.

      Pierluigi

      • I continue to be stunned at the massive degree of fiscal incest that occurs when one City entity utilizes the services of another City Entity. There is no way, for instance that the overhead involved with staffing police officers at the airport is 42% over and above their salaries. I am sure that the city charges the airport the same overhead when the airport requires the services of the city attorney. I have to wonder how much money is transferred from the general fund to the other funds by means of this ‘overhead’ adjustment. Or vice versa. At what point does this become a variation on a theme of money laundering, enabling the city to transfer money intended to be used exclusively by one fund so that it can be used by another.

        No less so does the payment of a salary for the city council out of the RDA seem shady and its financial dealings incestuous. And, I have to wonder what the budget would look like if it were handled in a simple, straightforward and transparent manner.

  12. ” Or you may feel that convention centers are a subsidy to the hotel industry or a subsidy to adjacent private property owners or a subsidy to airports or a subsidy to unions or all of the above.”

    Yes, many of us do based on past City administration studies, Council lies and millions in past and future general fund payments for Convention Center and the Remodel that will result in less city services not more tax revenues as Council falsely promised for almost every city spending project Council approves

    Downtown sucks our taxes in year after year and we get little back except drunks, crime and more City Hall lies about the next tax paid project will fix downtown when the only things that are ” fixed ” are ” economic study and backroom deal to spend more taxes downtown  

    BS, More BS and most Downtown BS – Fix city budget, give us more essential city services by stopping   the tax spending on doomed downtown

  13. How much does HP pay to have their name on the Arena?
    Make McEnery pay the same amount for having HIS name on the convention center. The guy’s been on the public dole for far too long. Make him earn his keep.
    Same with Rod Diridon. Ditto Mnorman Nmineta.
    Buncha freeloaders.

  14. Mayor and Council hires professional City Manager who is paid very well as city’s Chief Administrative Office who directs staff, is responsible and accountable to public and Council for managing City, preparing budget, economic studies, overseeing contracts like Team San Jose, making spending, policy and contract approval recommendations to Council who votes yes or no after brief staff presentation, discussion and 1-2 minutes public comments

    Do you really believe that Mayor by himself is responsible for not adequately overseeing Dan Fenton’s disastrous imperial reign over Team San Jose and ?

    Fenton year after year requested more city taxes because of revenue shortfalls and cost over runs while hiding what was going on   Office of Economic Development’s winning personality Paul Krupko had responsibility for Team San Jose and Krupko reported directly to City Manager

    Notice that Krupko resigned and is not with city anymore maybe that tell us something about City Manager and OED not overseeing TSJ adequately

  15. Mr. Oliverio,
    As I understand it, if the Hotel Tax does not cover the cost of the bonds, the city is on the hook for the payments. Is that correct? If so, there are many reasons that the hotels may have lower occupancy rates other than an earthquake. How about the continuing recession, global disasters, higher food and gas costs resulting in less travel, etc. So if that happens then the city is on the hook, correct? Now how is that different than the pensions that you so hate because they create an unfunded liability? Everyone understands the need to get business downtown but this risk is not worth the benefit. How about the city stop blaming every bar and night club for all the downtown problems and driving them out of business. How does running clubs out of business drive business to downtown? It amazes me that SF, New Orleans, etc can handle crowds fine and handle the problems as a cost of doing business but here in SJ if there is a party and thousands of people downtown and a few windows get broke we have to shut the events down forever. And you sit there and wonder why no one comes downtown. There is nothing to do!

  16. Got a telephone survey from New York that asked about whether I was in favor of private industry taking over public business like convention centers, bridges, roads, sporting venues, etc.

    It’s definitely on the radar both locally and nationally – are we getting good value for money.  The worst case example, however, is trading short term cash (windfall) for lousy service and high costs to the public, such as what happened with Chicago and the parking meters.

    I’m curious, however, about convention centers specifically.  Does every city in the U.S. run the convention centers as a public business (at a loss to stimulate hotel business)?  Does anyone make money off the actual convention center itself?  Could we look for some examples where doing things different actually worked?

    Now for a tangent – what is a convention center good for?  Its a performance and programming space that a specific industry (trade show promoters) love to use.  Could it serve multiple users beyond that?

    What about programing in multiple uses – from city wide sporting and science events to seminar and teaching spaces.  How about adding learning labs and other stuff that would give you daily users beyond the big conventions.  How about nesting a museum or other cultural facility inside to cross promote and add to the usefulness.  And how about retail/commercial space?  What about a concourse level mall that enhances the convention space but exists even without a convention in residence.  Heck, through in some Extended Stay America units and affordable housing studios and make it into an arcology kind of sci-fi development.

    BTW – Even as we muddle through from crisis to crisis, there will be a future that requires another convention center expansion – so why not build in some planning for that so its not so expensive next time.

  17. Way to go PJ Oliverio!  You did a great job of approving the convention center and hopefully make downtown world class.

  18. You guys want to fix problems at the convention center?  Make it a business friendly profitable venture where you won’t have to bail it out with $120m?  Here’s my experience there working as an exhibitor.

    A friend of mine owned a toy store/comic shop and had a booth at FanimeCon.  His booth had run out of a comic, so he sent me out to his van to grab another box.  On walking back in I was greeted by 3 aging teamsters.

    “YOU CAN’T CARRY THAT IN!  TEAMSTER SHOP!! PUT IT DOWN OVER HERE!”

    Their little teamster licenses hung from their necks. Dumbfounded I realised a teamster shakedown was in progress. 

    “How long till you get it to our booth?”

    “We’re on break right now”

    I reached into my wallet and pulled out a $5.  “How about express delivery?”

    “Yes sir!”

    I walked him back to our booth and disingenuously thanked him for his union looking out for us.

    I’ve been involved in exhibitions at other convention centers.  Anaheim for NAMM, Las Vegas for COMDEX and DEFCON(More of a conference)  I’ve carried 52” plasma TV’s in and out of NAMM.

    The major difference I see between those convention centers and ours is there are no thugs doing shakedown on exhibitors carrying their own stuff in.  The experience was a let down for me.

    • Actually Robert, I remember that situation.  What you ran into were Team San Jose hired Teamsters.  So those guys were Team San Jose Thugs who extorted you for money. 
      As a Concerned and Conscientious City Employee, let me apologize to you about your bad experience at a City owned building.  As I know the City Management will never apologize.  For what it’s worth, I too will be laid off after two decades years of service with the City.  Get used to be “shaken down” for money while at the San Jose Convention Center from now on.

      • The entire experience just left me, meh…

        I’ve been to the Santa Clara Convention center many times for LAN gaming events.  Not once did we have a teamster telling us “UNION SHOP, PUT YOUR GAMING RIG DOWN!” 

        I’m all for unions, but the teamsters have to realise if they continue operating this way at McEnery our city will continue to be viewed as a place people don’t want to hold conventions at.

        Union reps, if you’re listening, maybe just put a top limit on what people are allowed to carry in themselves.  If it’s just a box, or a PC, anything they can carry by hand and doesn’t require a handtruck, it should be let through without hassle.  Yes, we do need you for heavy stuff, but shaking folks down for a box of comic books?

        Events will stop coming here, and you’ll have one less union event to work at if things continue the way they are.

  19. The same Teamsters shakedown ( contract terms ) happens at San Francisco Moscone Convention Center but SF, Las Vegas, Orlando are very attractive locations for small to very large conventions

    You can not carry anything into Moscone without paying Teamsters before, during or after convention exhibits making vendor costs higher than other convention centers but they have higher attendance

    As former Officer and Board member of national professional association that contracted for conventions in various cities the Board compared: 

    a) convention attendee and exhibitor total costs to include airport, plane tickets, hotel, ground transportation, meals, convention costs etc
    b) how attractive the location was and would it encourage people to attend
    c) what was quality and facilities available which we found there was little difference in same size facilities except for old center which heavily discounted to get business or stayed empty like San Jose  
    d) what activities, events, unique shopping and hotel packages were available for both attendees and their spouses or significant others before, during and after during convention This was surprisingly very important and significantly increased or decreased attendance cities without lost business

    San Jose was occasionally mentioned but was always quickly not considered due to costs, poor convention staff reputation, labor problems in pro labor town old facilities, no nearby attractions and most consider not an attractive location for convention compared to many available others

    San Jose needs to compete on low costs to overcome the many other negatives until they can be corrected and unique local attractions developed for attendees and non convention guests otherwise San Jose will be at best 2nd tier convention site from it’s current 3rd tier status due to Team San Jose problems, bad industry reputation and high costs

    The convention center is like downtown – there are many other places for people to go and most do even though city has spend million to remodel and improve it is not enough

    City of San Jose after larger remodeled center is completed will continue to spend millions general fund tax subsidies on convention center until:
    1) costs are reduced, 2) service improved 3) unique non convention attractions are developed and overall attendee and visitor experience is much improved

  20. Luigi,
    I would like to thank you, the rest of the city council, and our esteemed mayor for giving away not only the old city hall, but a building on the same lot where the police officers have a gym where they workout either before or after their shifts. This gym will now be shuttered with the rest of the old city hall. Great move!! Ironic that a new gym just opened in the new city hall just for city hall employees. Another kick in the gonads of the police department. The cost of having a gym for officers to workout is a whole lot cheaper than the injuries they suffer by not staying in shape. But there again, our city council and mayor could really give a damn about our police department.

    • Isn’t that the same building which also supports Police Personnel, Employee Health Services, and the (defunct) Academy? I wonder if the intent to move all those units over to the recently completed Police substation along with all the other off-site units like Family Violence, the Reserve Office, the School Liaison, etc??? Naw. That’d make way too much sense.

      • What a hypercrit, you say get a gym membership because it’s cheaper than old city hall, but the new city hall gets s brand new gym costing the rest of the city thousands! Are you for real? Also, your facts are wrong AGAIN as usual! The gym was in the building next to the old city hall not in the old city hall! Just go away Pier!

      • Pier, Did you actually think before you posted this??

        What does the city financially mismanaging the taxpayers money, settling with the county on a lawsuit the city could have avoided, and whether or not an officer has access to a gym onsite?

        Using your logic, wouldn’t be easier for you to have a gym membership instead of the 50k you wasted on putting a gym in the cellar at city hall??

      • This Frank is retired.  I think the other Frank may not be?  I always post as me.  Never just as Frank.  But I will take that free gym membership though!  Let me know how to proceed with redeeming that free membership from the City.

        Old Frank

      • Luigi,
        How about if you respect the fact that hundreds of officers use this facility to work out? Why is it that you have a beautiful new state of the art work out facility in the new city hall, while you just took away the make shift gym we have at the old city medical building? Do you have a conscience?

        • Officer ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWX&Z,

          What I am saying is that in lieu of building a new police gym, I would assume that negotiating a price with a fitness club that has multiple locations would be less costly.  The City could purchase the membership for the police as part of implementing a wellness program.

          The gym at city hall is for city employees just like you have. It was funded out of savings from the workers compensation program and not the general fund. As you may know a wellness program has been something the unions advocated for in slowing the rate of health care increase and city has implemented one. Access to exercise is one thing insurance companies look at when quoting medical insurance.  Exercise is cheaper than long term medical bills.

          The Old City Hall issue is a separate blog.

        • City paying for gym membership?? We have no money!

          City hall gym paid for from saving in Workers comp? Because the city routinely denies every injury and makes the employee fight for basic coverage. Often times resorting to hiring attorneys before the employee even gets a call back from their case worker.

          I work out, not so I can help the city get a lower rate, I work out so I can go toe to toe with yolked out parolees who are half my age and jacked up on dope.

          Yes, the old city hall may be a separate topic in and of itself, but it is all interconnected when we are discussing overall mismanagement of city funds.

          Pier, I am really beginning to think that you just do not have a clue. Your posturing on this blog shows your arrogance. When will you admit that you are not always right. Your stubbornness is going to be your ultimate political downfall.

          There is more than Mayor Reed’s way and if you have not the ability to stand on your own two feet instead of appearing like the mayors puppet, then my friend you have a considerable amount of maturing to do.

        • We had a wellness program with reduced membership fee at club one a few years ago, and guess what, it was cut do to budget cuts. And why must I travel in my personel car to a gym when I could walk from my work like you do at brand new fitness gym in city hall. Infact your gym has all new equipment. The equipment we used (that your taking away) was old and used “hand me down” equipment that should be at a gym museum. These big corporate business’ has state of the art gym equipment for their empolyees on site. Since you want us to go by the corporate type retirement, why cant you give us corporate type benifits like this. OH, I know, you like to pick and choose and be Hypercritical!  Just go away Pier!

        • Why do you get a 90% retirement, when other City employees get 75%?

          Why do you get paid 100% of your sick pay out when other employees get 60%?

          Why is your vacation accumulation and sick leave accumulation more than what the other employees get?

          Why do you get to retire at 50 when other employees have to retire at 55?

          Do YOU have a conscience?

          Give my a break. Stop whining and put on your boy boy pants.

        • Why? Because I have the stones to confront the problems you call us to cry about? So stop calling us and pull up girly pants!

        • “Why? Because I have the stones to confront the problems you call us to cry about? So stop calling us and pull up girly pants!”

          And you whine because employees at City Hall have a $50,000 gym. I think YOU are the one with the “girly pants”. You want your 90%. You want your age 50 retirement. You want your 100% sick pay out. You want, you want, you want…and you whine because City Hall has a $50,000 gym. Shaking my head. I was all for you guys. Bantered with you. Took your position, etc. But when you made this whine. I saw things in a different light. I understood what people were talking about. And by the way, I haven’t called you since I’ve been in California…34 years. But if I ever have that need, I WILL call you and let you earn your salary. Have a good day.

        • Pier states, “Access to exercise is one thing insurance companies look at when quoting medical insurance.  Exercise is cheaper than long term medical bills.”

          Where is the logic then, in closing down the officers use to exercise before or after their shifts, with absolutely no thought given to replace it??

          No wonder the city is broke with reasoning like that.

          PS…glad you guys at city hall have a brand new gym paid for by blood money, oops, I mean savings from the workers compensation program, mostly by denying legitimate police and fire injuries.

  21. Why can’t police and fire officers use City Hall gym they are city employees and the equipment at old gym can be moved to City Hall

    Large Group gym membership can be purchased for employees at $10-15 month at many multiple location large gyms also family members could get same group rates but have employee pay by payroll deduction as part of wellness programs reducing city medical and disability benefit costs

    San Jose because many city employees especial police and fire are not city residents should only contract with regional gyms to encourage off duty employees to workout close to home not have to return many miles to San Jose

  22. City Hall’s Not Invented Here or Benefits Insiders Rule

    If it is not invented by City Hall, former City Hall employees, ex politicians or benefits local political insiders then Council and City Hall knows best and will ignore it no matter how often it has failed,  doesn’t work or loses tax money

  23. I applaud your efforts to attract more business while walking the fine line of keeping city coffers in check.  While there is no good solution that will satisfy everyone, taking positive steps at the convention center to return business to San Jose helps everyone in the long run.  Some may not see it, but it actually does benefit us all.  As for the pensions that everyone seems to be protective of, this is the single biggest expense item on not only San Jose’s budget, but also the state.  These pension plans and their payouts of way out of line with what “normal” businesses and corporations would pay to their employees.  Let’s stop all the squabbling and get this place back to reality where the incoming funds meets the expenses….what a novel concept. 
    Keep up the good work!

  24. Pier,

    Can you please answer this: is the new gym at the San Jose city hall open for police officers to use?
    Thanks in advance for your answer.