Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Posts by Peter Allen

Turning the Tide of Turnout

The county projects a pathetically low turnout for tomorrow’s gubernatorial primary election—despite one unique effort. But based on the numbers I’m looking at, it’s going to be even worse in Santa Clara County than our Registrar of Voters (ROV) predicts, particularly here in San Jose. Over the past three gubernatorial primaries, the county has experienced steadily increasing voter turnout, rising from 34 percent in 2002 to 37 percent in 2006—the last open race for San Jose mayor.

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Causes That Go Beyond Crime

Public safety has been the number one issue on everyone’s mind during this critical election year. That myopic obsession has effectively forced other important issues off the radar. Luckily, we have a series of opportunities in the week ahead to shift the focus.

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Fundraising Window Closes Doors

San Jose’s Election Code is, like all laws in our democracy, a work in progress. So while the intent of each and every provision may be benevolently intended to lead us toward a more perfect political paradigm, it’s not a stretch to say revisions are in order. With the first campaign finance reports for Mayoral and Council elections due today, it’s appropriate to start by following the money. Regulations governing limits on individual donations and campaign spending are both worthy topics. But there’s enough grist there to write a novel. Instead, I’d prefer to look at a policy that is relatively unique to San Jose: the 180-day fundraising window for council and mayoral candidates.

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How Rooftop Solar Got Its Groove Back

By all accounts, 2013 was a banner year for the solar industry in the halls of government and the court of public opinion. Across the country, big utilities launched attacks on policies like net metering to stifle innovation and maintain the profit margins that clean solar energy threatens to undermine. And in the face of multimillion-dollar lobbyist brigades, the solar industry grew up and learned to fight back.

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Getting Covered in California

It’s been nearly four years since I fought on the front lines of the health care reform battle, eventually resulting in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). But that feels like a lifetime ago, as the landmark policy now serves as a punchline. Not long from now, though, the joke will be on the critics.

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Shikada Will Face Moneyball-like Challenges

Every winter, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane has one hand perpetually tied behind his back, as he tries to rebuild his rosters for the following season. Frugal ownership, a decrepit stadium, and multiple run-ins with raw sewage make the A’s one of the least desirable Major League Baseball landing spots for top free agents. So, Beane, the man profiled in Michael Lewis’ bestseller Moneyball, does his best to cobble together lineups with bargain basement prospects and aging journeymen. And because he’s exceptionally good at his job—and a little lucky—he manages to field competitive teams year after year. The city of San Jose faces similar obstacles in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest minds to run the day-to-day operations of America’s 10th largest metropolis.

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