David Vossbrink

City Manager Debra Figone’s Exit Interview

Debra Figone will retire Dec. 20, after spending her entire 44-year career in public service.

San Jose Inside’s Josh Koehn sat down in late October with City Manager Debra Figone, who will retire at the end of next week, to discuss her 44-year career in public service. The free-flowing discussion, which has been edited for clarity, touches on topics such as the city’s adversarial relationship with the Police Officers Association, the validity of international travel for elected officials, the possibility of another sports franchise coming to San Jose if the Oakland A’s cannot relocate here, and how Figone views the media’s coverage of local politics.

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Who Authorized SJPD’s Change in Gang Crime Stats?

San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra and local media want to know who ordered the change in calculating gang stats, and why it was misreported to the public.

San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra says the city’s got some explaining to do about its police stats gaffe. In a memo to the Rules and Open Government Committee, which meets Wednesday, Kalra calls for a hearing in front of the City Council about why a change was made in calculating gang stats, and why the numbers were misrepresented to the public.

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Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel Caught in Labor Crossfire

Larry Esquivel, San Jose’s acting police chief, has waded into a war of words between City Hall and the police union.

Breaking up is hard to do. Breaking up a fight between the San Jose police union and City Hall could be damn near impossible. In what appeared to be an effort to mend fences and remind people who’s the boss, Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel recently sent an email this week to his command staff—roughly 50 deputy police chiefs, lieutenants and captains—scolding them for signing on to a letter critical of the city recent actions involving labor negotiations.

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Judge Orders County to Give $7 million in RDA Money to San Jose

San Jose is entitled to $7 million in funds Santa Clara County withheld from the city’s Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency.

Santa Clara County owes the city of San Jose nearly $7 million that was wrongfully diverted to county employee retirement accounts, according to a ruling handed down Friday by a Sacramento Superior Court judge. The ruling found that beleaguered county finance officials ignored “a half century of construction and application of California law governing allocation of tax increment financing.”

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Huffington Post Blogger Wants Answers about Casino M8trix

Casino M8trix has made a lot of news since it opened last summer. One freelance journalist continues to dig for more answers about the inner workings of the card club.

The city’s poised to deny for the second time a Public Records Act (PRA) request from a journalist who wants to glimpse the behind-the-scenes workings of Casino M8trix. Other items on the Rules and Open Government Committee agenda fro Wednesday include a dispute within the Vietnamese community and a passionate letter from our favorite city critic.

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Show Me the Money: City Employee Salaries for 2012

The city of San Jose released its annual employee salaries list last week, and once again public safety retirees make up most of the Top 10. (Image courtesy of Columbia Tristar)

San Jose released its annual list of city salaries late last week, reminding us once again where the bulk of the municipal budget goes. Like most municipalities, payroll accounts for the city’s single highest expense. San Jose shelled out $596 million, or 62 percent of this fiscal year’s budget, on payroll for its 5,500 employees. This year, retired Sgt. John M. Seaman topped the list, receiving total compensation in the amount of $308,345.

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City Hall Takes San Jose Inside off of Prohibited Website List

This image shows the prompt City Hall employees previously received when trying to access San Jose Inside. The city has since taken the website off of its list of questionable URLs.

To keep people on task, the city’s IT department developed a prompt back in the Internet’s toddler years—circa 1997—to notify workers that they may be attempting to visit websites prohibited by city policy. Fly was then dismayed and downright harrumphed when it learned last week that the Metro-affiliated political website San Jose Inside provoked the prompt for city workers as if it was some sort of personal blog about cats and the things they fancy.

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Number of Missing Fire Response Time Reports ‘Significantly Higher’ than Expected

San Jose firefighter response times, already below the national and local expectations, will be even worse than expected. (Photo iIllustration by Kara Brown)

The San Jose Fire Department has a pretty good idea how long it takes firefighters to get to emergencies. Well, some emergencies. SJFD officials told San Jose Inside this week that thousands of emergency calls in recent years were mistakenly left out when calculating response times. In the 2011-12 fiscal year, there were 52,400 reported calls for emergency medical or fire services, according to current department statistics. But SJFD officials now acknowledge underreporting the numbers, and the total will be “significantly higher.”

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