In Year 2086 County Executive Jeff Smith Will Have Last Laugh

Elected officials and bureaucrats often try to score cheap points and win the day’s headlines, either ignoring or unaware of the long game. That appears to be changing a bit in Santa Clara County, where county executive Jeff Smith is now strategizing moves that will pay off 70 years from now—all while tweaking his political adversaries at San Jose City Hall. A recent list of proposed acquisitions, at first glance, would suggest Smith is getting county taxpayers into the hotel/property management business. But the places the city of San Jose is selling as it finally dissolves its last Redevelopment Agency assets—such as the Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton Four Points and Market Gateway Apartments—have ground leases that go decades into the future. The Hilton property, appraised at $96,000, only needs approval from the city’s Oversight Board on May 26 to fall into county hands. With 70 years remaining on the lease, and an annual rent of $1, it’s a loser for the better part of a century. But after that the county—assuming it still exists in a post-Donald Trump presidency—will have the option of jacking up the rent, selling the property (say, back to Hilton) or tearing it down and starting fresh. Deputy county exec James Williams, who’s overseeing the proposed acquisitions, says it’s “a way to convert one-time money into ongoing money,” which would then go to subsidizing county services and staff. A public agency having control of the properties would also keep tenants accountable on upkeep. But then there’s the politics. San Jose still owes the county $80 million in RDA debt and has refused to pay up until after all other bond payments are made. That’s a long time coming, and Smith absolutely knows it burns San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and others to see some of the city’s flagship properties falling into county hands. These properties have nothing to do with the county’s overarching mission, but it’s probably a more effective strategy than letters like this.

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you Chuck Reed and other clowns on the council so screwing us for years to come. Not a big fan of Jeff Smith but continue to stick it to SJ as they have done to us. And yes a no vote to any tax increases by the city and county.

  2. Jeff smith is years behind schedule on valley med hospital, screwed up ambulance service for everyone in the county and is unethical.

  3. Dear Jeff Smith,Vote Yes on San Jose Measure C! Here’s why:
    http://hi72256.wix.com/yesonme
    http://www.sensiblesanjose.com
    Why would I not vote Yes on measure C. The regulation on the State
    level was signed last September by Gov Brown the MMRSA. A no vote
    creates problems that have already been resolved with the State
    regulation that protect children. The City took forever as usual in
    regulating but the truth is the State beat them to it first. I love the
    State of California. The City assistant to the City Manager, Angelique
    Gaeta in DEC told Collectives to vote NO, her order was illegal. In
    California discrimination from employer to employee based on political
    affiliation and activity IS illegal. http://www.vtzlawblog.com/2015……
    Under the new regs, a collective can’t even have a handicap ramp.
    Should a collective be fined $50,000 for violating any one of the new
    proximity rules. The answer is no but maybe the the city believes civil
    rights violation is worth it for them. Disability is a part of life. As
    we age, chances of acquiring a disability increase. Currently in America
    there are 77 million baby-boomers in their fifties and sixties. Service
    men and women are returning home with disabilities significant enough
    to require home modification, and state and federal disability support
    monies are being redirected from long-term care facilities to assisting
    individuals with living in their own homes. The need for access and
    accommodation support has never been greater and is only going to
    increase. In fact, it is elected or appointed officials, responsibility
    to be a part of the solution; to understand the laws as they pertain to
    discrimination and to support the citizen as they explore options.
    Do you care about health care because the City of San Jose wants it’s citizens to drive a horse carriage, when all the big cities and counties are driving cars. Science has come to learn the benefits of MMJ and so should you.