San Jose Downtown Association

City Council Expected to Pass EPS Ban

After nearly two years of discussion, the City Council is expected to ban some city restaurants from providing expanded polystyrene takeout containers. (Photo by D’Arcy Norman, via Flickr)

After months of outreach trying to get restaurants used to the idea, the city’s moving ahead with its ban on Styrofoam-style take-out containers, a uniquely problematic type of litter because of the way expanded polystyrene (EPS) breaks apart and infiltrates the region’s waterways. On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss the controversial ban slated to go into effect Jan. 1. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include a jobs development program with Work2Future and a service agreement with the San Jose Downtown Association.

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Ugly Hotel Coming to Downtown San Jose?

This is an artist rendering of a Hampton Inn that could become an anchor in San Jose’s downtown. City officials and community stakeholders are not thrilled with the design.

Scott Knies hopes the artist renderings of a Hampton Inn planned for a prime slice of land in downtown San Jose are just placeholders until developers come up with a real design. The executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association saw drawings of the six-story hotel proposed for the corner of Highway 87 and Santa Clara Street for the first time earlier this week. His reaction to the design, to paraphrase: Dear, god, no.

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Council to Hold Last Meeting of 2011-12

The last City Council meeting of the fiscal year Tuesday will feature a loaded agenda. Last week, the council unanimously approved next year’s budget, moved past its stalemate on lower benefits for new employees to approve a second tier, and paved the way for paid time off for many city contractors. Here are some of the critical items up for the last meeting of 2011-12.

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Minimum Wage Goes to Council

Former San Jose Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez speaks at a press conference to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. (Photo courtesy San Jose Residents for Raising the Minimum Wage.)

Update: The San Jose City Council voted unanimously to send a minimum wage proposal to voters after it failed to be adopted by San Jose City Council Tuesday night. The motion to immediately adopt a higher minimum wage than surrounding cities failed on an 8-3 vote. The proposal will raise the minimum hourly wage in San Jose from $8 to $10, if passed by voters.

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City Concealed Street Closure Docs

San Jose Inside has learned that proponents evaluated three scenarios, two of which would have retained parking, before adopting the most extreme solution of permanent street closure with no parking.

Despite the city’s stated commitment to sunshine and open government, city officials and proponents of a proposal to permanently close a block of South First Street concealed critical documents from affected parties for a year—until the eve of a council vote. Promoters of the “pavement to plaza” conversion say a $500,000 grant from ArtPlace requires the street’s full closure. San Jose will contribute $98,000 in park and economic development funds, under the plan, which goes to the City Council at today’s 1:30pm meeting.

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A Quick History of Downtown San Jose

The big news from last week’s annual meeting for the San Jose Downtown Association is that Music in the Park is no more. Back in August, we reported that Music in the Park was expected to be canceled after 23 years of throwing free summer concerts downtown. There were other reports and awards given during the meeting, but one thing worth watching is the above video that details the 25-year history of the Downtown Association. It takes a few seconds to get going, but it’s well produced and gives some insight into how far the city has come, as well as how much work remains to be done.

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