Defer and Drop Nets $1 Million

Last year, I wrote about a parcel of land that was converted from commercial zoning to residential by my council colleagues … some of whom are “friendly” with a certain lobbyist. Many believe this parcel was converted as a “quid pro quo” so AT&T would sell their land for a potential baseball stadium. I opposed this rezoning since I wanted to retain all of the land for jobs, thus a better tax base to pay for city services.

There was a promise from the lobbyist that “a someday office building,” on a postage stamp portion of the parcel, would be built. However, no progress had been made. On the other hand, the larger portion of the parcel for the housing portion (as usual) has been moving along rather quickly.

The housing developer needed to buy some of the road from the city to make the project work. I noticed this item on the council agenda and asked my council colleagues for a deferral, so we could make some progress on the promised office building. The next day at the Rules Committee, I asked for this time to be dropped entirely from future council agendas.

As expected, calls came quickly from the housing developer and lobbyist. I asked for some tangible progress on the office building prior to the council meeting, when this item would be back on the Council agenda. A meeting was held and an office development proposal now has the opportunity to come forward this summer. But there’s no guarantee, as greed might foil the day.

The housing developer on this parcel had an outstanding debt to the city of San Jose of $1 million for a light rail station. These fees were owed for nearly five years from a prior housing development. I asked that the housing developer pay this past due money before the council vote. The housing developer has agreed to cut a check for $1 million dollars on June 1, and if they do not the city will hold up escrow.

Sometimes delay can be a good thing.

11 Comments

  1. PO,

    Nice pat on your own back, surprising right before June vote.  What other cards are you hiding?

    You know you want that never to come ball park!

    Vote Steve Kline!

  2. Thanks for getting the $$.  However, the original deal should never have been struck with the developer when it was delinquent in its $1M payment owed to the City. The Council never should have considered doing business with this developer until it had acted in good faith and paid what it owed. Is it paying the $1M with interest?

  3. Shouldn’t the more accurate title be “Defer and Drop MAY Net $1 Million” since June 1st has not arrived and no check has actually been written yet?

  4. The reality is it is an inappropriate place for an office space.  While “near” other office space, it sits smack in the middle of residential area and hasn’t been used as office for years.  Converting it all to residential would have been better for the neighborhoods, generated park and infrastructure fees and kept the inevitable commercial/residential conflict at bay.  There was never enough land to discuss a swap for anything to do with the ballpark, that is simply a red herring. You always tout the idea that people shouldn’t weigh in on projects outside their neighborhoods, but you neglect to say the entire neighborhood fought this. Way to go.

  5. “council colleagues … some of whom are “friendly” with a certain lobbyist.”

    “a “quid pro quo” so AT&T would sell their land for a potential baseball stadium.”

    “The housing developer on this parcel had an outstanding debt to the city of San Jose of $1 million for a light rail station.”

    “These fees were owed for nearly five years from a prior housing development.”

    I never realized that transparency in government could cause such eye strain. Who would’ve guessed that in Chuck Reed’s transparent administration lobbyists go without names, costly incentives for a “privately funded ballpark” are smuggled about, debts owed the public are recorded in invisible ink, and interest and late fees in the tens of thousands go politely unmentioned? The last guy to employ this kind of transparency was Bernie Madoff.

    In none of the city departments that have been subjected to layoffs, pay cuts, and slander by Chuck Reed’s administration would such scandalous behavior be tolerated, much less treated as business as usual. The cops aren’t on “friendly” terms with lawbreakers; neither code enforcement nor the fire department play quid pro quo when conducting inspections; the finance department doesn’t employ a pay schedule or assess fees based on friendship. Only at the highest levels of city government is it safe to lie and cheat.

    Chuck Reed’s version of transparent government is to use a glass city hall to capture the public’s attention and then do business elsewhere. Cheat and not get caught… just what you’d expect from someone who learned his lessons well during the Air Force Academy cheating scandal.

  6. Another reason to vote no on Measure B and vote you out of office.  You,  Chuck and the other 3 just keep giving us BS . Constant is the worse, hope you saw Ch11 last night.

    Please, research before you vote on all the city lies.

  7. Not all of us are city hall insiders.  Would somebody provide the essential facts:

    1) Where is the property located?

    2) What is the name of the lobbyist?

    3) Which council members are “friendly” with the unnamed lobbyist?

    4) Who is the developer?

    Pierluigi,  why are you being so evasive?

  8. Disgusting. They are only forced to pay when they want to play. Who are these council colleagues with close ties to lobbyists Pierre? Are you beholden to them or your constituents?

    Transparency? Ha!

  9. Pierluigi,

    Why are you not disclosing the names of Council members, developer, lobbyist and what property is involved ?

    San Jose City Hall we have been told is open and transparent government so why hide facts public should know after telling us what went on ?

    How can voters and public hold accountable elected officials and City Hall management if facts are hidden and no one will tell us ?

    City Hall Watcher

  10. Oh yah, Don and his walmart.  Don and his Almaden Ranch project (where he promised at the cambrian candidates forum to build a little league field)

    You know what a train wreck it’s been over here PLO, or do you never venture south of Curtner?

    -The Almaden Expressway “Improvement” project was not on time.  They just barely finished up painting the lines on the street last week.  We had a 3 week period of no traffic lanes, which caused numerous accidents and pile ups (wife and I witnessed one such accident)

    -We lost our dedicated turn lane onto Almaden Expressway, as well as our pedestrian islands.  Now pedestrians have to dodge 2 lanes of impatient right turn traffic.

    -I have to consult the manual for uniform traffic control devices, but I’m fairly certain that there were plenty of things done WRONG here.

    This was all against the 300 or so residents that showed up at the meeting at Pine Hill school.  The “it met a little neighborhood resistance” printed in the newspapers was BS.

    I’m all for leaders making decisions that their constituents do not want, depending on the circumstances.  Slavery?  Yup, 100% of the south didn’t want that to end.  A woman’s right to vote, or abortion rights?  Again, another issue where a “Leader going against the constituency” was a good thing.

    Jeesh.. If I could be a flowing fountain of derogatory cursing right now, I would be.  I have so many pent up 4 letter words…

    Maybe my biggest issue with all this is the level of compromise our leaders did, on mine and my neighbors backs.  Didn’t the general plan state that if that field (torrito’s field) was going to be developed, we would get a car bridge connecting Chynoworth?  Why was a compromise made there?

    I’m going to be making a note of every person hit at that intersection.  Should be powerful stuff on a mailer, a person in a full body cast and wheelchair after being run over at that intersection. 

    I wouldn’t even have to resort to stock photography.  Mark my words, it’s going to become a common occurrence at that intersection.