Measure A

Turkey Trot Still Funds Political Foundation

The annual Turkey Trot raises more than $850,000 for several local nonprofits, but one of them has a dubious history in fulfilling its mission.

Almost 28,000 people are expected to run in the 9th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, the Thanksgiving morning race put on each year by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation. The runners, walkers and joggers might be surprised to note that money raised in previous years to pay health care premiums for low income kids was diverted to political campaigns.

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County to Discuss Measure A Spending

The county Board of Supervisors will discuss how to address homelessness with some of its Measure A revenue.

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will decide how to allocate a third of this year’s Measure A revenue, or $15.3 million. They’re expected to spend the bulk of it on affordable housing and healthcare for the uninsured. Other items on the include guidelines for a 55-acre civic center in downtown San Jose, rapid re-housing for the homeless and downsizing a tobacco prevention and control program.

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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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Family Health Fiasco: Cindy Chavez Wanted to Sue Metro

Cindy Chavez speaks to a crowd at the Labor Temple on election night last November.

County supervisor candidate and labor organizer Cindy Chavez has not always been the biggest fan of San Jose Inside and Metro‘s coverage of local politics. In fact, she was so perturbed by a report in March about the political activities of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, on which she was previously a board member, that she suggested a lawsuit.

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Family Health Fiasco: Kathleen King Wanted Better Push Polls for Measure A

A flyer with pictures of elected officials who in 2012 supported Measure A, the 1/8th cent county sales tax increase that will collect $500 million over 10 years.

Push polls are a common occurrence in campaign season. They are designed to leave voters with a more positive or negative reaction to topics and/or individuals after answering questions. Political consultant Rich Robinson recently wrote a column on San Jose Inside about his distate for the leading questions, which are often asked without proper context, he argued. Based on email records obtained through a court order last week, it can be said that Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, does not share this opinion about push polls.

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Judge Orders County to Release Health Foundation Documents

Health Foundation attorney Ash Pirayou opens the door for Metro counsel Judy Alexander and County Counsel Donald Larkin. The courtroom has been blurred to comply with Superior Court photography rules.

Metro and San Jose Inside scored a legal victory Friday with Judge Carol Overton’s ruling that the County of Santa Clara must release documents on the political activities of the nonprofit Santa Clara Family Health Foundation. The documents, handed over to Metro on Friday, shed new light on how a recent ballot initiative was passed, and how the South Bay Labor Council interacts with local nonprofits to advance its agenda.

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Nonprofit Executives Respond to Cindy Chavez Conflict Allegations

Clockwise from left: Carole Leigh Hutton, Pancho Guevara, Richard Konda, Reymundo Espinoza.

On March 24, Metro/San Jose Inside reported that Santa Clara Family Health Foundation (SCFHF) executive board member and officer Cindy Chavez participated in a board decision to provide $250,000 in funding to the Yes on A committee, on which she and Kathleen King—CEO of SCFHF—constituted a majority of the three-member committee. The committee subsequently turned over a large portion of the funds to the South Bay Labor Council Issues PAC and Democratic Central Committee’s PAC. Because of Chavez’s obvious conflicts of interest—she headed up the SBLC at the time—and the importance of a countywide sales tax increase, which will be paid by all residents, Metro/San Jose Inside felt this was a matter of public interest.

On Friday, nine nonprofit executives wrote a letter to express their thoughts on recent articles. They worry that investigative reporting could make nonprofits “the target of unfounded accusations and public reproach.” Because we feel this is a useful debate to have, and because we want to give differing points of view the proper attention they deserve, we are running below the letter in full, in addition to its appearance in the comments section where it was submitted. —Editor

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Nonprofits Funded Labor Council Political Campaigns

The VMC Foundation and Santa Clara Family Health Foundation paid more than a half-million dollars combined to get a county sales tax passed, which will help fund hospitals. What might not be  so obvious is how that money funded other organized labor efforts under the direction of Cindy Chavez.

Funds from two local non-profit health care foundations made their way to phone banks and mail campaigns of the South Bay Labor Council in 2012 after routing the money through a Measure A’s campaign committee. Both the VMC Foundation and the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation gave more than a quarter-million dollars each—a total of $539,000—to support an 1/8th cent county sales tax measure, Measure A. At least $90,000 of those monies were transferred to the South Bay Labor Council. An incestuous tangle of organizations, directors and consultants characterized the transactions, with common decision-makers on both the giving and receiving ends. None of the organization are willing to discuss how the funds were used and how decisions were made. Former San Jose vice mayor and South Bay Labor Council CEO Cindy Chavez currently heads up the nonprofit SBLC-linked Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA) and sits on the board for the Health Trust and Santa Clara Family Health Foundation.

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Mayor Reed Not Interested in Yeager’s ‘Deal’ on Healthy Kids Funding

Mayor Chuck Reed said he supports the Santa Clara Healthy Kids Program, but it’s time to cut the cord on funding now that the county has more money through Measure A.

Call it a preemptive strike but Ken Yeager deserves a little credit for trying to get something while knowing he’d probably get nothing. Last week, the president of the county Board of Supervisors sent a letter to San Jose Mayor, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and the City Council proposing a deal on how to continue funding the Santa Clara Healthy Kids Program. There’s just one problem. San Jose is broke and has no interest in giving another dime now that the county got Measure A passed.

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