Joe Simitian

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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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.

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New Ethics Laws Will Change Nothing

County Supervisor Joe Simitian has been dubious about new reform efforts, saying policies such as open calendars can be overbearing and/or unenforceable. (Photo by TeachAIDS, via Wikimedia Commons)

Santa Clara County is going forward with a new ordinance to govern lobbyists. By definition, everyone who has an issue or interest is a lobbyist. But this new ordinance would apply only to those who are paid to redress county government.


Yeager Asks County Board of Supervisors to Condemn Russia’s Anti-LGBT Laws

Russia’s new laws against the LGBT community have sparked international protests. The country will host next year’s Olympic games. (Photo by valya v, via Flickr)

Russia inspired pandemic outrage this summer when it introduced a spate of homophobic laws, including one that outlaws “gay propaganda,” which could get citizens and tourists jailed for something as innocuous as wearing a rainbow T-shirt. Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager wants his colleagues to take a stand against the draconian legislation, especially since the country plans to host the 2014 Olympics and Paralympics.


The Open, Closed Book that Is County Supervisor Joe Simitian

Supervisor Joe Simitian remains coy about his political future.

Joe Simitian wants to run for Congress. It’s the worst kept secret in local politics. What seat the former state legislator and current county supervisor will run for is anybody’s guess. But Mighty Joe will be ready. In the first six months of the year, Simitian raised almost $50,000 through his officeholder account, a good chunk of which came in the last month of the filing period. Fly called Simitian to discuss, and the supervisor was more than happy to oblige.

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Community Activists Cite Civil Rights Concerns with Jail Mail Policy Changes

Salvatore Lombardo, a custody support assistant at Elmwood Correctional Facility, says he doesn’t feel unsafe opening mail at the county jail.

The sheriff’s office recently proposed limiting all mail sent to inmates to postcards instead of the envelope-enclosed letters currently allowed. Sorting through the 200,000 letters a year is tedious, jail officials say. Some of the letters are soaked, spliced or stamped with drugs: PCP, acid, meth and other contraband. Some contain needles. Some hide gang communications. The idea of switching to simply postcards—outside of inmates’ communications with their attorneys—would save money and time. But families and friends of inmates, as well as community activists, argue that the change would constitute a civil rights violation and endanger the rehabilitation of those incarcerated.

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