Nothing as contentious as last week’s vote to put a pension reform ballot measure to voters is featured on this week’s San Jose City Council agenda, but there are a few items of note in the final meeting of the year.
Team San Jose received a hefty amount of criticism under the direction of former CEO Dan Fenton, but several members of the council are now giving their seal of approval to current CEO Bill Sherry and Chairman Chuck Toeniskoetter.
A memo signed by Mayor Chuck Reed and councilmembers Sam Liccardo and Pete Constant suggests staff “discontinue work on a Request for Proposal for management of the Convention Center and Cultural Facilities.”
“The results are already impressive,” the memo states of the current management. “The Fund 536 balance increased by more than $2 million, which staff indicates is a $3.8 million net improvement of the FY 2010-11 Adopted Budget. Trade shows and conferences like BIOMEDevice and Embedded Systems Silicon Valley as well as summits and meetings of companies like LinkedIn, Adobe, Seagate, Xilinx, PwC, Intel, eBay and Mozilla have resulted in more than 70,000 attendees coming downtown this year.”
The city also intends to start the transition process of ending lease payments for incubator programs, which were funded through the Redevelopment Agency. Incubators received scrutiny over the summer, when Liccardo called for an audit of the city’s incubator programs after a critical report surfaced.
“The Transition Plan focuses on strategies that allow the three incubators and Entrepreneur Center programs to continue to exist without Agency support beginning July 1, 2012,” a memo states. “The transition strategy for the BioCenter recommends assisting the San Jose State University Research Foundation (SJSURF) to negotiate a new master lease with the property owner before the Agency lease terminates on August 30, 2012.”
Also, a comprehensive report will be delivered on the city’s finances and debt for 2011. No action is expected. Additionally, several water-related agreements are likely to be extended or altered, including the “cost sharing of water conservation and wastewater flow reduction programs” between the city and the Santa Clara Valley Water District through June 30, 2013.
And among other decisions Tuesday is an item that could leave a lasting impression on future visitors to San Jose. The city is expected to authorize City Manager Debra Figone “to negotiate and execute an agreement with Soo-in Yang for the design, fabrication and installation of a public artwork at the McEnery Convention Center in an amount not to exceed $480,000.”
According to a city memo, “Yang is an artist and architect, and is cofounder and director of the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia University in New York City. He has completed large scale new media-based public art commissions in New York City; Seoul, Korea; Linz, Austria; and Hong Kong.”
Selected from a large pool of applicants that was whittled down to four, Yang impressed a panel of experts who used some interesting criteria to make their selection. In addition to wanting the artwork to be “thought provoking” and have a “day and night presence,” the first requirement on the list was that the artwork be “perceived as must see and magical.”
According to a website detailing Yang’s work, the artist is responsible for creating Living Light, which “is a permanent outdoor pavilion in the heart of Seoul with a dynamic skin that glows and blinks in response to both data about air quality and public interest in the environment. Citizens can enter the pavilion or view it from nearby streets and buildings, and they can text message the building and it will text them back.”