Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter Allen was born and raised in San Jose and lives in Willow Glen. He is a board member of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association and vice chair of the city of San Jose Arts Commission. Follow him on Twitter at @pjallen2.

Posts by Peter Allen

Turning the Tide of Turnout

Californians no longer have an excuse for not registering to vote.

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.

Read More 4

Causes That Go Beyond Crime

Many upcoming candidate forums in San Jose will focus on issues other than crime. On Monday night, the San jose Stage Company will host an event where candidates discuss the city's Green Vision plan.

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.

Read More 2

Fundraising Window Closes Doors

Making elections more fair for all candidates could require new rules on when candidates can raise funds.

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.

Read More 1

How Rooftop Solar Got Its Groove Back

The solar industry took several steps forward in 2013. (Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery, via Flickr)

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.

Read More 0

Getting Covered in California

President Obama’s landmark policy, the Affordable Care Act, has been successful in getting people to sign up in California. The open enrollment deadline for health care through the public exchange ends Monday, December 23. (Photo by Jaime Soja)

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.

Read More 6

Shikada Will Face Moneyball-like Challenges

Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s, has faced tight budgets when trying to assembly a top-notch team. Ed Shikada will have similar challenges as San Jose’s city manager, Peter Allen writes. (Photo by Muboshgu, via Wikipedia)

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.

Read More 5

Rentseekers and The Free Market: Part II

In a recent example of “rentseekers” trying to eliminate competition, established taxi companies are targeting innovative companies like Uber. (Photo by Luke Roberts, via Flickr)

I watched a piece on CNN the other day that really tied the room together, in terms of the battle over America’s energy future. Recently in this space, I’ve ranted about rentseekers—established industries backed by favorable regulations that stifle innovation and thrive by maintaining the status quo. This story rides a thru-line from social innovators, like Uber and Airbnb, to the heart of the solar energy revolution, and it exposes a dilemma at the core of our economy: The free market doesn’t really exist.

Read More 3