Kerrie Romanow

Councilman Kansen Chu Charges Expensive Yosemite Retreat to the City

San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu attended a weekend conference in Yosemite with his wife to learn about sustainable communities. Or something like that.

All work and no play makes Kansen Chu a dull councilmember. Back in March, the representative for San Jose’s Berryessa district (and 2014 State Assembly candidate) took a trip with his wife—on the city’s dime—to Yosemite National Park to attend the 22nd Annual Ahwahnee Conference for Local Elected Officials. What initially caught Fly’s attention was the conference, titled “Building Livable Communities: New Strategies for a New Age,” was sponsored by a who’s who of who-cares-about-the-environment: PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison Company and the Southern California Gas Company. But a closer look at Councilman Chu’s expense report shows he barely attended the event, despite shelling out $809.54 of taxpayer dollars.

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Council to Discuss Success of Plastic Bag Ban, New Fire Engines

San Jose city officials say the plastic bag ban has been so effective they may not have to increase fees next year for shoppers who require paper bags. (Photo by katerha, via Flickr)

That single-use plastic bag ban worked. The city enacted the 10-cent charge and San Jose’s shoppers adapted accordingly, bringing their own reusable bags instead of opting for single-use recycled paper bags, according to city staff. It’s a good thing, too, because that good behavior is pushing the city to consider canceling a fee increase that would have come into effect Jan. 1, upping the price-per-paper bag to 25 cents. Other items on Tuesday;‘s City Council agenda include a $5 million settlement with a Halloween partier who was shot 20 times by police and the potential pick up of two new fire engines.

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Few Complain to City about Bag Ban

In the first two months of implementation, the city’s plastic bag ban yielded positive environmental results and few complaints, according to a memo sent out Friday by Kerrie Romanow, acting director of the Environmental Services Department. So far, the ESD has received 25 calls from the public expressing concerns or “an unfavorable comment” about the ordinance between October 2011 and February 2012, Romanow writes.

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