Kim Walesh

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 Developer Incentives at First Meeting of New Fiscal Year

San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo speaks at the groundbreaking for 1 South Market, along with Mayor Chuck Reed, left, and San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce VP Jim Reed (no relation).

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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Rules Committee to Discuss Enterprise Zones, Willow Glen Trestle

The fate of the Willow Glen trestle has been a hot topic amongst neighborhood activists. (Photo courtesy of http://wgbackfence.net)

Since their advent in the mid-80s, enterprise zones have sparked economic development. But, in some cases, these geographic areas that provide companies a litany of tax breaks have also granted corporations a chance to game the system. Two competing bills in the state legislature could either eliminate these zones or modify their scope. On Wednesday, San Jose’s Rules and Open Government Committee will consider taking a stance on the bills, as well as discuss the future of the Willow Glen trestle.

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Report Shows Arts Support Local Economy

The thriving arts scene in San Jose appears to be helping the local economy rebound from the recession. The San Jose nonprofit arts sector provided more than $122 million in economic activity, according to the “Arts and Economic Prosperity IV” study released by the city Friday.

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