Mayor Liccardo Announces 2016 Plans at State of the City Speech

The word of the day this past Saturday at San Jose’s William J. Overfelt High School, where Mayor Sam Liccardo delivered his second State of the City speech, was “opportunity.”

“My name is Sam, and I work for you,” he said to begin his speech. “I've learned a few lessons in my first year as mayor: to listen more, to talk less and to laugh more. I have seen my colleagues on this council over the past year rise above the acrimony of the past to work collaboratively to achieve great results.”

It’s been a busy first year in office for the mayor: in addition to unanimously passing a balanced budget and reaching a settlement on a landmark pension reform package up for a vote in November, he’s also accelerated job and small business growth, created new agencies to help with a variety of social services and vastly improved the relationships between City Hall, the police and the community.

“Amid the national controversy over policing and race, San Jose will publicly release data about police detentions and race, and we will install body cameras on every patrol officer,” Liccardo told the audience. Along with improved de-escalation training, forbidding the use of chokeholds and a proposed increase in the number of community service officers, SJPD expects a much-needed PR boost in the coming year.

Further increasing job and small business growth took center stage for most of the mayor’s speech, with him unveiling a series of programs designed to accelerate opportunities in both areas. Most notably among them were an expansion of the youth jobs program San Jose Works, which intends to employ 1,000 more teens, a countywide but San-Jose-led effort to raise the minimum wage, and the activation of a Vietnamese small business booster in a roster that already includes both Spanish and English-speaking contingents.

“Almost 40 percent of our adults come here from a foreign country,” Liccardo said. “That is our past and it is our present. So too, our future should be guided by the great insight inspired by those who have lived the immigrant experience.”

Affordable housing was also a prominent feature in the mayor’s speech, with special attention paid to reducing the city’s sizable homeless population. Two projects to retrofit empty hotels for interim homeless housing were announced, as well as plans to create a 150-unit “microvillage” on city land. Much of the focus of these initiatives will be on reducing the number of homeless veterans, with the mayor pledging to have all of them off the streets by Veteran’s Day 2018.

Other future projects include the development of a community soccer center near the new Avaya Stadium, a softball complex on the East Side, the launching of high-speed Internet in many more neighborhoods and a variety of maintenance projects for San Jose’s roads and public transportation systems, all offset by approximately $3 billion in savings from the mayor’s proposed pension reform resolution. The mayor urged the public to support these programs despite any fears or anxieties they might have about the expenditures.

“Madison Avenue and Hollywood and Wall Street are governed by the tyranny of the urgent,” Liccardo said. “This can infect our thinking with a myopia that satisfies today but betrays our future. We have to make these investments in a time of scarce resources, and we cannot afford to do the same things in the same ways as the past.”

Given the successes of his first year, the mayor is optimistic. “We happen to benefit from living in the most limit-defying community on the planet, the Silicon Valley,” he said. “We are empowered to catalyze change globally through our creativity, through our passion, through our inner geek.”

He continued, “Yes, this about leveraging our technology. But more importantly, it’s about leveraging the power of our people, the power of our ideas. To unleash your geek doesn’t require new gadgets or apps. Rather, it requires a reimagining of our city and ourselves. Can we put this power to work to benefit our city? Can we make City Hall as innovative as the community we serve?”

Liccardo concluded, “It is this noble commitment that must guide us. It implores us first to save, second to invest and third to innovate. We must innovate.”

Randle Aubrey is a lifelong Bay Area resident and the proprietor of the political commentary blog SOAPBOX, as well as a co-host on Face For Radio, a weekly pop culture podcast. You can find SOAPBOX at www.getuponit.org, and Face For Radio at www.echoplexmedia.com.

9 Comments

  1. Successes of the first year? SJPD is losing Officers as badly as ever, CSO’s don’t investigate crimes and recruiting is a disaster. They have already released detention data for over a decade and body cameras are barely past the beta testing stage. Sham Lie-car-doh is allergic to reality and/or the truth.

    Homelessness is worse than ever in San Jose, a drive past any major intersection is undeniable proof of panhandling. Spending more money on hobos and giving them housing will not fix it. We spend too much on the intractable problems at the root of it already- San Jose cannot fix mental illness, addiction, criminality or laziness. The money is better spent on our core services… Our tax paying citizenry.

    The roads are absolutely a problem, but of course Sham backs a General Fund tax measure instead of one tailored to fix it and SJPD. Pay no attention to the other 2 funds, by the way… Never mind that they comprise $2 billion of the $3 billion City budget. It’s no coincidence that Sham has been a relentless cheerleader of both Redevelopment and the Airport- the biggest debts our City faces.

    Why is no one pointing out that Sham’s campaign promises are failures? I thought his book was a roadmap… How’s that working out? Oh, that’s right. SJI endorsed him.

    • Myopic thinking, to say the least! The reason San Jose has such a horrendous problem with homelessness…is because the *only* approach that has ever been tried, here, is the “Kick them while they are down” approach. If blowing vast amounts of tax dollars, chasing destitute people down the street 80 times, doesn’t work, why try it 81 times? This is the entire reason we are left with 294 homeless camps….and getting worse every day. The “kick them while they are down” approach, hasn’t worked, can’t work, and will never work.

      We are a community of “problem solvers” who have completely failed to solve a “simple” problem….homelessness. I say “simple” because the solution of the problem is already known. It is not necessary to invent a new gadget.

      We are a community of problem solvers that have refused to do their “due diligence”….because *all* published research proves that the “Housing First” approach works….and saves the tax-payers vast amounts of money….and the approach for which San Jose is famous….the “Kick them while they are down” approach….doesn’t work. Just step outside your door, and look at all the masses of homeless people….and ask if the “Kick them while they are down” approach has worked in this area?

    • San Jose Airport and RDA debt combine for a total of around 7 Billion Dollars .

  2. SJPD is losing Officers as badly as ever, CSO’s don’t investigate crimes and recruiting is a disaster.

    Got that right, we need officers, not CSO’s, Mercky news never prints factual article kind of like SJI. SJPD has about 850 officers available to work patrol (Not 900). Requires mandatory OT for all officers and pays approximately 20 million per year in OT. And a police academy that currently has ONLY 7 officers in it. Well done mayor, well done.

  3. The SJPD is continuing to lose officers at a staggering rate. It is flat out lie to suggest a corner has been turned. The actual number of officers available to work patrol is right around the 800 mark, down from 850 or so 6 months ago. By the end of this year, there will be well, well below 800 officers available to work patrol in a city that should have well over 2,500 officers for a city of it’s size. There will be at least 125 officers less at the end of this year than there are now. There is NO staffing model, no new program, no amount of rearranging the remaining officers at SJPD that will fix this. Officers are beyond burnt out now trying to staff the SJPD now. There may come a point where a nuclear option is the only way where the department is dissolved and other surrounding cities and the Sheriff’s Department serve the policing needs of San Jose.

  4. But I thought Mayor Liccardo wrote a book that detailed exactly how to repair San Jose’s police department. Isn’t he following that carefully planned template? This would be the time to implement the plan he offered to voters.

  5. Pete Constant, a former SJPD officer who many knew was a scammer and got a very questionable work related disability “retirement”. Pete Constant, who everybody knew was spending a lot of his SJPD work time running his photo business. Pete Constant, who while collecting his “disability retirement”, somehow was miraculously well enough to serve as 2 terms as a SJ councilperson. Pete Constant, who then got paid for 8 years as a councilperson and became eligible to collect another city paid pension. Pete Constant, who led the fight to stab his former brother and sister officers in the back – those with legitimate and permanently disabling injuries – from collecting the same benefit he was collecting. Yes, that Pete Constant is back, now playing the part of a marionette doll, to put a final nail in the coffin of SJPD, and possible SJFD. He literally has, and will have, more blood on his hands by the actions. http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_29616261/san-jose-new-legal-challenge-filed-against-measure

  6. Amen OBERVATION,

    We both know this guy is an alleged fraud and crook. Nothing to add having to have known his alleged lies as an officer and council member. Hope he enjoys his 50% tax free disability from the city as an alleged police officer.