Mike Wasserman

County Supervisors Consider Minimum Wage Increase

The county wants to come up with a plan to increase the minimum wage in the region's unincorporated areas.

More than a year after San Jose upped its minimum wage to $10 an hour and as the conversation around pay increases for low-paid workers ramps up on a national scale, Santa Clara County is starting to look at enacting a similar measure for unincorporated parts of the region. Supervisor Dave Cortese, who’s also running for mayor of San Jose, will lead the discussion when the Board of Supervisors meets on Tuesday. A county ordinance comes with many more challenges than a citywide measure, Cortese notes.

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Wasserman Leads with a Moderate Touch

Mike Wasserman delivered his Sate of the County speech on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Santa Clara County)

Mike Wasserman, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, gave an inspirational State of the County address Tuesday. While talking about public safety, he related the story of his mother being rushed to the emergency room by local firefighters, who helped save her life. It was a personal story that showed the role government plays and the everyday services that some people take for granted.

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Wasserman’s State of the County Speech Highlights Social Services, Healthcare

Supervisor Mike Wasserman, recently installed as president of the Board of Supervisors, delivered his State of the County speech on Tuesday.

The stink of ex-Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. has dissipated, and Santa Clara County is focused on a fresh start for 2014. “Scandal is no longer in the air,” Supervisor Ken Yeager said after Tuesday’s State of the County speech, delivered by recently sworn-in Board President Mike Wasserman. “We certainly spent most of last year changing and improving public outreach and creating much more transparency than there was before.” Wasserman’s address focused on the county’s role as a safety net for the most vulnerable, while also highlighting the little-known services it provides for residents.

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County Combines Addiction Treatment, Mental Health Departments

South County Airport could be getting a new name. (Photo by Ikluft, via Wikimedia Commons)

Given that clientele often overlaps, Santa Clara County will integrate its departments of Drug and Alcohol Services and Mental Health. Also, on the agenda for Tuesday’s county Board of Supervisors meeting: a new name for the South County Airport, making campaign disclosure forms available online and funding an anti-terrorism law enforcement communications network.

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Forrest Williams: Old Campaign Debt Not an Issue in Mayor’s Race

Forrest Williams stunned political observers when he decided to join the crowded San Jose mayor’s race. (FIle photo)

More than a baker’s dozen have declared plans to run for mayor of San Jose next year, but no announcement was more startling than former councilman Forrest Williams’. Out of the spotlight since his failed 2010 county supervisor bid against Mike Wasserman, his announcement last month came out of left-left field considering his past supporters at the South Bay Labor Council are all-in for former vice mayor and present county supe Dave Cortese. Fly isn’t the only one scratching its head over Williams’ kind-of, sort-of run. He said SBLC officials have called to “ask what’s my plan,” which is code for “WTF, Forrest?” There are some theories that 2010 figures into his new effort. A look at disclosure forms shows that Williams and his wife, Dorothy, had to forgive $116,950 they loaned his supervisor campaign. Williams insisted that he forgave only about $50-60K, though, and isn’t running to help pay off old debts.

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Rural Metro Financial Woes Put County Ambulance Contract in Jeopardy

Rural Metro has failed to come through on some of the promises made when it signed a contract with Santa Clara County. Now the company could be facing bankruptcy.

The company that provides Santa Clara County’s ambulance services is in need of rescue. In December 2010, the Board of Supervisors contracted with Rural Metro, which missed an important bond payment last week, leading industry insiders and county officials to worry that the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company may be headed towards bankruptcy. So what do the elected officials who supported the Rural Metro contract have to say about the current mess? Nothing.

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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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Supervisor Ken Yeager Snubs Mayor Chuck Reed over Marriage Equality

County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager declined to meet with his former council colleague, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, due to the latter’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

Ever since Chuck Reed was elected mayor of San Jose in 2006, he has held quarterly meetings with the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. The goal of these meetings is to allow city and county officials to discuss legal disputes without lawyers present. But that all changed last week, when current Board president Ken Yeager snubbed Reed’s request for a meeting.

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