Council to Discuss Labor Negotiations, Low-Income Housing

With the firefighters’ union becoming the first labor organization to formally reach a deal on compensation concessions with the city last week, this week’s City Council meeting will feature even more discussions regarding labor negotiations.

Last Wednesday the Association of Engineers and Architects, the Association of Maintenance Supervisory Personnel (AMSP), and the City Association of Management Personnel—which together represent 623 full-time equivalent employees, or 11 percent of the city’s represented workforce—announced a tentative agreement with the city

No action will be taken Tuesday on the most recent agreement, but other items of note will include:

- Appropriation of $2 million for Fuel Cell Equipment from the Ice Center Revenue Fund to Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, Inc.

- Approving up to $3 million in loans for a housing project at Ford and Monterey Roads. The money will help create units for extremely Low-income very low-income special needs individuals and families.

- Finalizing the rejection of all bids for the second phase of the Environmental Innovation Center Project. Several of the lowest bids included errors and were withdrawn. By rejecting the bids, the city hopes to expedite the process of making LEED certified the 46,000-sq. foot warehouse on 1608 Las Plumas Ave., before the end of the fiscal year.

- Approving the delivery of notices to San Jose residents about a proposed rate increase for Recycle Plus. A public hearing will be held in May, where public officials and citizens will discuss a 9% increase for both single-family dwellings (SFD) and multi-family dwelling (MFD) in the coming fiscal year.

San Jose City Council Agenda for March 29, 2011

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

22 Comments

  1. “- Approving up to $3 million in loans for a housing project at Ford and Monterey Roads. The money will help create units for extremely Low-income very low-income special needs individuals and families.”

    Absolutely not!  Not when cops and firefighters are being laid off… the last thing San Jose needs is more low income housing.  This type of housing does not bring in tax revenue and is drain on City resources.

    • Totally agreed whoever you are. It could be argued that the majority of San Jose’s problems have resulted from subsidizing certain people- and certain companies- to reside here. If we’d just quit providing these subsidies we’d wind up with a community in which people and businesses are here because they WANT to be here, they LIKE San Jose and they can support themselves in San Jose. That’s my kind of community!

      As for Recycle Plus. Doesn’t this outfit’s business model depend to some extent on the redemption value it gets from all the cans and bottles that residents set out on the curb for them? In my neighborhood the pickup is on Friday so everyone sets their containers out on Thursday. Well every Thursday evening an immigrant couple ( yes I know I know. They’re only trying to feed their family…) methodically works their way through the neighborhood raiding the bins, placing the aluminum and plastic containers in their Hefty bags, and periodically tranferring them into the trunk of their support vehicle.
      I’m not real crazy about yet another rate increase on my garbage/recycle bill when absolutely nothing is being done to curtail the theft that’s going on in my own neighborhood that I know of, and by deduction, probably pretty much throughout the City. Fix this problem first. See if this doesn’t get Recycle Plus the 9% increase in revenue they’re after. If not, THEN come back to me with your hand out.

      • In DTSJ on S. Third, between Santa Clara & San Fernando, all the big complexes set their bins out on the designated day.  A cadre of dumpster divers shows up, and sifts through the huge bins collecting the recyclables, which they put in their stolen grocery shopping carts and haul down to the recycler near Julian & Hwy 87 to collect their $$ to spend on booze and cigarettes.  Oh, and some stop @ the Starbucks on Third & Santa Clara for their java.  Only in Silicon Valley do homeless dumpster divers buy coffee @ Starbucks and have cell phones.

        One day last month the dumpsters weren’t out at the deignated time, and as I walked buy, I saw a dozen or so of them waiting around for their loot to be delivered.  If these guys can show up on time for dumpster diving each week ( I bet they have a location for each day of the week), how come they can’t show up on time for a real job?  Well, there was one guy I recognized as having a real job in the kitchen of a local restaurant.

      • > They’re only trying to feed their family…) methodically works their way through the neighborhood raiding the bins, placing the aluminum and plastic containers in their Hefty bags, and periodically tranferring them into the trunk of their support vehicle.

        Wait a minute!

        Shouldn’t this come under the San Jose Council’s wise plastic bag ban?

        Shouldn’t these scofflaws be required to use recyclable canvas bags with pictures of daisies or sea otters?

        And their “support vehicle”:  is it electric or at least a hybrid?

        Am I the only one around here who really cares about saving the planet?

  2. Low income housing is a drain on public resources and quickly become infested with gangs and criminals. If the city refuses to build low income housing, so what. The state has failed to punish other cities who refuse to build mini crime centers to satisfy the state law. The law should be ruled unconstitutional or repealed by the voters.

  3. If things continue at this rate, San Jose will rate an A for affordable housing and an F for public safety.  It is time to prioritize!

    • Yup—they’re gonna lay off cops, but keep The Office of Cultural Affairs, and other unnecessary niceties in a severely down economy.

      Anyone who votes to lay off a single cop while we still have The Office of Cultural Affairs won’t get my vote, and I’ll contribute to her/his opponent in the next election.

  4. Please San Jose stop the spending for low income housing.  My suggestion would be for council to live in these areas before vote.  With all the city cutbacks your adding fuel to the fire.  2 months of living in these areas will show council this is a Super loss leader.  We cannot afford to keep giving what we don’t have away.

  5. WHAT??!!!!  $2,000,000 for fuel cell technology?  And we have an Environmental Innovation Center??  The $3,000,000 loan for low income housing needs no more comment, as one must do no more than to drive by that little Eden of Ford/Monterey to see exactly what that money will buy.  All that that “investment” will do is allow parolees to live a little closer to their parole officer’s office.  Or maybe all the unemployed police and fire personnel can live there as they take jobs with other municipalities.  But an Environmental Innovation Center????  How can we still be considering such unnecessary expenses, and the associated liabilities associated with their ongoing operation, when we have a $110,000,000 budget deficit?  Not only does this building sound like a crock, but its design calls for LEED certification.  Do you know how much extra money it takes for LEED cert?  And no, the extra cost savings in energy efficient technology will not pay for the cert.

    Hey Pier, I know you’re probably not for these things, but how many houses does it take to pay for an Environmental Innovation Center or fuel cell technology for a recreation center?  Why is the City involved in the operation of a recreation center with an ice center?  This City is a joke.

  6. Truly a band of idiots for council members and the mayor to support and lend money to low income housing….this is why our city is broke.

  7. The area they want to build in is right in a nice area of South San Jose. Just plunk it down and destroy the area with crime and gangs, why don’t cha. We don’t want this low income housing in our area. We don’t want the trouble. Take it somewhere else.

  8. > Approving up to $3 million in loans for a housing project at Ford and Monterey Roads. The money will help create units for extremely Low-income very low-income special needs individuals and families.”

    How about an amendment that requires the city subsidized housing “for extremely Low-income very low-income special needs individuals and families” to be located within ten feet of the front door of the main residence of any city council member voting in favor of the loan approval.

  9. More of the same very BAD Council and city staff recommendation that will make 10 years budget crisis continue for many more years

    San Jose built with tax subsidies over 12% of California low income housing but San Jose only has 2.5 % of California population  

    San Jose provides 10% more low income housing than our population or 6 times our population

    More SAME Council and City Manager BAD financial management

    – make city budget shortfall larger because of low income housing tax exemptions but requires more city services especially public safety and code enforcement paid by the rest of residents

    – attracts low income residents in high housing area who have higher crime rates due to lower education and poverty

    – Low income residents vote and lobby elected officials for more low income tax subsidies making budget problems larger in San Jose and less in other SCC cities

    – Market rate housing buyers pay for low income with higher housing prices, higher taxes and fees than other SCC cities

    – Check and you will see that other SCC residents pay less taxes and fees but get more and better city services

    Council continues to create MORE Low Income housing caused budget problem while charging residents more taxes and higher fees for less city staff and services

  10. Why do they keep wanting to build when they don’t have the resources to service the new units? I am just not getting it. They will still need police, fire, building inspectors, code enforcment, etc to service the area, yet they are cutting the personnel. WHAT is going on?

    • Why,

      Because the Mayor and Council are completely out of touch with reality.  Moreover, they have absolutely no desire to represent the will of the people.  Rather, some of them are “in the pockets” of the large developers, unions and lobbyist pimps. 

      There’s little we, as residents, can do beyond voting them out of office or recalling them.  Beyond that, I suggest we all spend our money outside of the SJ City limits, so that the loss of sales tax revenue might, in some small way, help to “starve the beast” that we know as the SJ City Council.

  11. Would you listen to the people!!!!! That are all shouting: “More Housing! More Housing! More Housing!”

    I seem to recall THE City of San Jose was in the business not too long ago of providing low interest loans to it’s executive staff with intent of luring “the best and brightest.” Wasn’t there some woman named Barbara Attard – the Independent Police Auditor or something who got on of those loans, bought a luxury condo at an inflated price that went upside down along with lots of other properties?  Then, didn’t she not get her city contract extended adn end up walking away from the condo, the loan and her obligation to pay leaving the City with the unpaid note and another property in its inventory?

    Yeeeya, Chuck how’s the real estate loan business working out for the taxpayers? Are you going to stick us with that bill too.

    Isn’t the current economic climate due in part to giving people loans that the had no way of repaying?

    Hey Chuck, who are you going to get to police the next low-income housing boondoggle? Respond to fire and medical calls? Heck, whose is going to inspect the construction to ensure the buildings are up to code? Meanwhile… how much revenue is the City going to loose be granting tax exemptions to the “non-profit” part of the Barry Swenson / Core / Garden City /McEnery construction shell company.

    How about the Airport??? What are you going to do when Southwest pulls out of SJC and moves to SF or OAK where the usage fees are cheaper and they have real cops and real fire fighters on the job??? The sucking sound is getting louder!!!

  12. Interesting.
    I’d make a couple of points.
    a) the EIC has already paid off in some job development. Whether it will be a good future investment I don’t know.
    b) on the housing at Ford and Monterey the article doesn’t make clear if this money can be spent elsewhere. That’s the one question I would have
    c) the mayor, the pollsters, they have all asked the people what do you want to do to balance the budget. And, the answer from the people is “We want to reduce the pensions and benefits of current police and fire retirees. We don’t want you to close all our libraries and other services.” This has put the politicians in a pickle because they probably cannot legally reduce those pensions.

    There’s a much bigger issue for Chuck Reed, Jerry Brown and all of them. Unless pensions are attacked directly, then this structural problem goes on into the future. We’ll be back in two years with another 100 million dollar deficit, as pension costs increase. There are two ways to solve the problems at all levels of government—cuts in pensions and entitlements or tax increases. We have to choose one or the other or a mixture. But we can’t do it all by cutting existing services or we’ll have no society left.

    • The mayor and council are leading yet another dog and pony show in each council district over the next few weeks, in order to get a sense of what “the people want” regarding budget priorities.  They will then routinely and assuredly ignore EVERYTHING we have to say at those meetings, and do what the lobbyists,special interests, and unionistas want them to do.

      Who’s zoomin’ who, here?  The mayor and council admit that the “concessions” from the unions on CURRENT pay will close a little less than one-third of THIS YEAR’S deficit, with another $50million MINIMUM extra to come next year, all due to CURRENT pension obligations.

      Past mayors and councils made promises to unionized city employees that never should have been made.  Is it too late to identify those folks, and draw and quarter them for their fiscal folly? 

      Now our only hope is to break those promises.  The structural deficit will NEVER go away until we reduce CURRENT pension obligations.

      There are two ways that can happen: (1) the city contacts all those pensioners and tells them that their pension payments will be reduced permananetly by 10% (or whatever percentage it takes to balance the budget) or (2) the city declares banruptcy, and those contracts are voided by the bankruptcy court, and a sustainable structure is implemented with bankruptcy court approval.  I see no other viable long term solutions

      For TEN YEARS now, the city goes through this annual budget ritual.  That ritual, too, is unsuistainable.

      There are just under 5,000 retired city employees collecting pension benefits promised to them by foolish past mayors and councilmembers.  Imagine, 5,000 people are holding a city of 945,000 hostage!  Talk about the tyranny of the minority!

      So, do those 5,000 current retirees receiving benefits, and those to come in the next few years, drive us all into bankruptcy?  Are the other 940,000 of us going to continue to put up with that?  Are we going to continue to lay off cops, firefighters, librarians, etc. so these 5,000 can live it up on OUR MONEY?  And no, in these hard times, raising the taxes of 940,000 of us to keep those 5,000 well fed is NOT an answer.

      Mr. mayor and members of the council—WAKE UP!!  There will never be a solution to the structural deficit unless the payments to CURRENT retirees are reduced.

      • In my opinion, the bigger problem is the literal billions of dollars wasted by the city council on failed social engineering, downtown, the airport, city hall building, and a baseball stadium. Let’s not forget the millions in land Mayor Reed thought was a good idea to spend for the Tesla factory, which of course never happened. Just in the past week the city voted to spend millions of dollars on “fuel cells” and low income housing. Go through any city council agenda and you can find money wasted on “green” technology, tattoo removal programs, “Our City Forest”, consultants, public art, etc etc etc. You could get rid of every pension and break every promise, and it would just mean more money to be squandered on “projects”.

  13. THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO FIX BOTH THE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THAT’S TO TELL THE UNIONS TO GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT. THINK ABOUT IT. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS BROKE, THE STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE BROKE, THE PEOPLE ARE BROKE, WHO HAS ALL THE MONEY, THE LABOR UNIONS. THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT IS CONTROLLED BY THE LABOR UNIONS. IT’S THE LABOR UNIONS CONTRACTS THAT DETERMINE HOW MUCH TAX WE PAY.  TALK ABOUT TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. THEN THEIR’S MAYOR CHUCK REED. I HAVE ONE QUESTION FOR HIM. WHY WAS CUMMING ELECTRIC CO. IN CAMPBELL AWARDED A $30 MILLION DOLLARS CONTRACT TO RETRO-FIT SAN JOSE FOR E-VEHICLES,THAT’S $30 MILLION DOLLARS OF FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS.WHICH IS FEDERAL INCOME TAX MONEY. COULDN’T FINE A COMPANY IN SAN JOSE TO DO THE JOB.I HAVE ONE FOR YOU PG&E, THEIR THE ONES WHO BENIFIT, BY SELLING MORE ELECTRIC. WHY SHOULD THE TAX PAYER FOOT THE BILL?

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