Politics

County Considers Wage-Theft Ordinance

More than two-thirds of low-wage workers reported being denied full compensation by their employers, according to one study. (Photo by khrawlings, via Flickr)

Santa Clara County will consider an ordinance to punish employers for wage theft, a charge that would disqualify businesses from public contracts and give workers a formal recourse to lodge complaints against stingy bosses. The motion going before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday would direct the county to come up with a draft ordinance over the coming months. Supervisor Dave Cortese brought forward the idea, citing a 2008 study by the National Employment Law Project that says two-thirds of the 4,387 low-wage workers polled in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago were denied full compensation.

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Federal Ruling Slashes Cost of Out-of-State Inmate Phone Calls

The cost of out-of-state phone calls just got a whole lot cheaper for inmates. (Photo via Department of Corrections)

A federal ruling will dramatically cut the cost of out-of-state phone calls for Santa Clara County inmates, making it actually cheaper to dial long distance than local. The Federal Communications Commission handed down a directive this month that drops the price for inmates calling to another state by 85 percent, though it’s been met with legal opposition from the phone companies that have a monopoly on jail and prison telecommunications. Global Tel-Link, the service provider for the 700 phones at both Elmwood Jail in Milpitas and the main jail in San Jose, is asking a judge to delay the ruling.

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San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Takes Long View in Final State of the City Speech

Mayor Chuck Reed said Thursday that many of the projects started during his two terms as mayor of San Jose will be finished by the next mayor. (San Jose Inside photo)

Chuck Reed spent much of his eighth and final State of the City speech thanking his predecessors while noting that a mayor’s work goes on long after he or she leaves office. Noting that he and past elected officials in San Jose have stood “on the shoulders of giants,” Reed said the work he and the council have carried out in recent years must be viewed outside the prism of four-year term limits. “We have to think in much longer timeframes,” he said.

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Mayor Reed Takes Meeting on Splitting California into Six States

Last month San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed met wit Tim Draper, a venture capitalist who wants to split California into six states.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed eats, sleeps and positively spits pension reform. He slammed through PR in San Jose with the help of voters in 2012, and while Measure B hasn’t accomplished everything he wanted, Reed’s doubled down with a proposed statewide measure (also being challenged in court). Getting the money to put a PR initiative on the state ballot takes beaucoup bucks, which is part of the reason Reed’s been speaking at conferences across the country the last year while rallying support from hedge-fund billionaires like Paul Singer and venture capitalist Michael Moritz. But the topic of one meeting the mayor took last month would dramatically alter his state pension plan.

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Mayor’s Race Gets an Education Forum

On Wednesday, the county Board of Education agreed to participate in a mayoral candidate forum on education. Educate Our State invited the Board be a partner, and the data show a thoughtful discussion is needed. Nineteen of the thirty-one districts in the county are located in San Jose, and nearly 50 percent of San Jose’s public school students test below grade level in math and English.

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Politicos Trade Barbs Over Slow Fire Response Times

San Jose Inside first reported on the fire department’s lagging response times more than a year ago.

The first political firefight of the San Jose mayor’s race has adopted the adage “everything old is new again.” Two weeks ago, the county Board of Supervisors took a bold vote to withhold $700,000 from the city of San Jose due to its fire department’s slow—and in some cases absent—emergency response times. Contracted by the county to arrive first on the scene for high-priority “lights and sirens” emergencies within eight minutes, 90 percent of the time, SJFD has routinely showed up late and misreported its response times in the last four years.

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Councilman Wants San Jose to Allocate More of Its Budget to Police

Pierluigi Oliverio thinks the city should set aside a bigger chunk of the budget for the police department.

San Jose residents may get a chance to vote on allocating more of the city’s budget to public safety. A motion by Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio aims to put a charter amendment on the June ballot that would guarantee that 40 percent of the general fund goes to the San Jose Police Department. Right now, 30 percent does—down from about 35 percent several years ago. Also on the agenda: future development in the Cambrian neighborhood, a movie screening about female military veterans and letters of thanks to San Jose police and firefighters.

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Judge Dismisses ‘Patient Dumping’ Lawsuit

A lawsuit accusing a Nevada psychiatric hospital of ‘patient dumping’ was dismissed Thursday by a federal judge. (Photo by Omar Omar, via Flickr)

A federal lawsuit alleging that a state-run mental health clinic in Nevada bused more than 1,500 patients to San Jose and various other cities around the country over the past several years was dismissed last week. But civil rights groups and attorneys say the fight isn’t over.

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