Environmental Innovation Center

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.

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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.

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Councilman Ash Kalra Wants to Ban Soda, Other Sugary Drinks at City Spaces, Events

In a move New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg might appreciate, Councilman Ash Kalra wants to ban sugary drinks from all city-owned buildings and city-sponsored events. Other items on the Rules and Open Government Committee agenda include a potential raise in the airport’s noise curfew fines and David Wall alleging that the Environmental Innovation Center fiasco was a ponzi scheme.

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Future of Environmental Innovation Center Uncertain as Contractor Files for Bankruptcy

Contractors working on San Jose’s $11 million Environmental Innovation Center (EIC) walked off the job last month a half-year behind schedule and $1.6 million over budget. A couple weeks later, the company, Modesto-based Applegate Johnston, Inc., filed for bankruptcy. Modesto-based Applegate Johnston, Inc. was awarded a contract for San Jose’s EIC in 2011, despite having previously finished two fire stations several months late.

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Mayor Reed Asks City Council to Remove Campaign Fundraising Limits

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed worries about the unlimited spending by independent expenditure committees during elections, saying it gives outside interests more sway than individual candidates. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Reed and his colleagues will consider a motion to lift voluntary spending limits on candidates to even the playing field with committees during campaigns. Other tiems on the agenda include updates on contracts related to the Environmental Innovation Center and the San Jose/Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility.

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Council to Discuss Developer Incentives at First Meeting of New Fiscal Year

Since slashing construction fees for high-rise development in downtown, two towers have broken ground, including the $135 million 23-story project at One South Market. Hoping to spur more nearby development, the City Council on Tuesday will consider whether to vote in a similar half-off discount for buildings of any size as long as they create jobs. Other items on the agenda for the first council meeting of the 2013-114 fiscal year include another look at building restriction height around the airport, a potential study of the city’s sewer system and an update on the city’s graffiti abatement contract.

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