Budget

County Has $9.7 Million of Measure A Revenue up for Grabs

The county has set a Dec. 13 deadline for idea son how to spend $9.7 million in anticipated Measure A revenue.

After spending most of this year’s anticipated Measure A revenue to pull out of a deficit and boost some service levels, Santa Clara County officials are looking for ways to spend a remaining $9.7 million of the 1/8 cent sales tax. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include the county picking up the full cost of the Healthy Kids program—rather than getting a little help from San Jose, a plan by Supervisor Ken Yeager to save a Santa Clara library and Supervisor Joe Simitian looking to grade local restaurants.

Read More 2

Community Coalitions Can Help Take Back San Jose’s Neighborhoods

Residents of downtown San Jose gathered last week for a community walk through District 3.

San Jose is in desperate need of neighborhood coalitions and the community involvement they foster. Crime has increased and extensive cuts have been made to basic neighborhood services. With our quality of life at stake, it is important for residents to get involved with their local neighborhood associations or community groups.

Read More 3

Disconnect between Mayor Reed, City Manager on Police Chief Search?

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed says he expects the city to name a permanent police chief by the end of the year.

In his weekly call-in show Monday with KLIV 1590 executive director George Sampson, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed pulled back the curtain a bit on the city’s efforts to find a permanent police chief. The question is whether or not City Manager Debra Figone—the person charged with suggesting who to hire—was ready for that curtain call. Reed told Sampson he expects the city to officially name a permanent police chief by the end of this year. But, according to the city manager’s office, the search to name a long-term police chief has not been active in roughly eight months.

Read More 31

Honoring San Jose’s Unsung Heroes

Some of the 250-plus volunteers, dressed in Western theme for the day, eat a meal at the annual volunteer appreciation event hosted earlier this month by the city’s Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS) department.

In a sight to behold, Obed Rivera stood in front of a crowd of 300 volunteers, city of San Jose staff, elected officials, family and neighbors, as he accepted the Anti-Litter Program Volunteer of the Year Award. The award was one of several presented at the annual volunteer appreciation event hosted earlier this month by Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS).

Read More 0

Council to Consider New Contractor for Environmental Innovation Center

After royally screwing up the Environmental Innovation Center (EIC) project, the city’s trying to clean up the mess by hiring a financially stable contractor. The City Council will consider a takeover agreement with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company when it meets Tuesday. Other items on the agenda include a project to house homeless people, new developments at the airport and a review of local cities’ disability retirement programs.

Read More 6

Leadership Transition Continues with City Manager Debra Figone’s Retirement

City Manager Debra Figone’s tenure will come to an end after six years on the job and a career spent in public service.

San Jose City Manager Debra Figone announced this week she will retire after overseeing city operations for six years. Her tenure, which will come to an end in December, has marked some of the most difficult years in the city’s history, as the City Council enacted layoffs and pay cuts to cope with historic budget deficits. Her departure will likely leave the city with an interim city manager, police chief and fire chief, all while the 2014 mayoral race is in full swing.

Read More 12

Council to Discuss Top Priorities, Audit of Consultants and Contracts

The City Council meets Tuesday to discuss its top priorities for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Regulating alcohol sales, electric car plug-ins and cannabis clubs are among the city’s top priorities this coming year, according to a memo up for discussion at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Other items on the meeting agenda include a development deal that could land the city a new park and an audit that finds the monitoring of consultants needs to be much improved.

Read More 18

Cuts to Head Start Education Set a Course for Economic Suicide

An event held last week at Rose Elementary School featured a display of 170 empty desks, which represents the number of children in Santa Clara County whose Head Start education was initially cut by the federal sequester.

I recently voted to use $1.2 million of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s budget to keep 170 low-income children in Head Start programs this school year. The program had been cut due to the federal sequestration. Each dollar put into quality early learning experiences returns at least $7 to society through increased productivity, while also reducing the need for federal assistance and fewer teens/adults entering the criminal justice system.

Read More 0

Environmental Innovation Center a Risky Project from Day One

The San Jose Environmental Innovation Center (EIC) has been in the news a lot recently, due to the fact that it is $1.6 million over budget and six months behind schedule. This project was always risky, as it utilized complicated tax credits that expose the general fund—the guarantor of the project—to future risk. So, being in the position to avoid future financial risk, why would I support yet another project such as the EIC, which could imperil our general fund? When this issue came to the council, I voted “no” several times, where was I often the only “no” vote. When there is a single dissenting vote, this automatically means that any substitute motion would die for a lack of a second. This is true in all cases.

Read More 8