Council to Hold $24M Bond Hearing

Tuesday’s city council session, the second of the new fiscal year, will feature a hearing regarding the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) and a separate item giving City Manager Debra Figone the ability to accept a federal grant for public safety.

The TEFRA hearing will help determine if up to $24 million in tax-exempt bonds should be issued to finance and refinance certain renewable energy facilities in the City of San José. A portion of the bonds to be issued by the California Municipal Finance Authority would go toward the acquisition, construction and improvement of renewable energy facilities that include the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant.

UTS BioEnergy would be responsible for parts of the project. The company engages in biogas production and conversion to electricity and heat through silage, sludge, manure, food waste, green municipal wastes.

The council is also expected to grant the city manager authority to form an agreement between San Jose and the city and county of San Francisco that will make the latter the acting fiscal agent of a Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative. The initiative would be worth $1,234,000 total; San Jose’s police would receive $1,030,400, while firefighters would get $203,600.

The grant is designed to help public safety respond to and recover from potential terrorism incidents and other hazards through a regional collaboration of local jurisdictions around the San Francisco Bay.

Click here to read the City Council agenda for August 9, 2011.

Correction: The original posting of this article said that the city and the California Municipal Finance Authority would be issuing bonds to finance and refinance renewable energy facility improvements. The bonds would be issued by only the California Municipal Finance Authority. Also, the anti-terrorism federal grant will make the city and county of San Francisco the acting fiscal agent.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

33 Comments

  1. The city is about to claim a dire fiscal emergency… and then it is turning around and offering bonds? I’d love to see its statements about the safety and security of these bonds, and the city’s ability to pay.

    What kind of rate should a city in fiscal emergency pay… 15%, 17%?

    • > The city is about to claim a dire fiscal emergency… and then it is turning around and offering bonds?

      Fiscal crisis? What’s that got to do with anything?

      The Council Members still get to sit on their thrones in the City Council Chamber and have lackies fill their glasses with ice water.  Right?

      There’s no crisis.

      • The only crisis is over allowing this guy to get past the diversity screeners.  I bet he has a big fence, and likes to tell people of color, WHAT BUSINESS DO YOU HAVE HERE.

        • How on Earth did you conclude such a thing from the poster’s commentary?  I doubt whether anyone else could have jumped to that conclusion unless they were running short on their meds.

        • > I bet he has a big fence, and likes to tell people of color, . . . .

          Wait!  Didn’t I give you an assignment?

          I’m still waiting for you to tell me what color you would like me to be so that you would like me better.

          I’ve got my “people-of-color” make-up kit and my store-bought do-it-yourself ID card already to be filled in.

          I’m just waiting for you to tell me what race I need to be so that I’ll be “tolerated” by you.

  2. Rome is burning and they are worried about spending 24 million on renewable energy resources. Sounds about right.

  3. After what seemed like a lifetime of thirty-Year adjustable-rate mortgages, with monthly mortgage payments going up all the time, The “123 Refinance” helped me to lock in a great low fixed rate of 3.16%, helping me to guarantee myself the ability to always make my mortgage payment on time with money to spare.

  4. A sane, reasonable, responsible and intelligent person, having examined the current city budget, would have to conclude that the spending priorities of those in charge at city hall – to include Debra Figone – are neither sane, reasonable, responsible, nor intelligent. I would like to know how placing Debra Figone in charge of B.A. UASI comes within even shouting distance of being a responsible choice.

    People, seriously, look at the budget – especially the General Fund. Look at how many unnecessary grants are paid out of the general fund – grants which have absolutely nothing to do with providing core charter services. Look at the voting records of the various council persons – especially with respect to zoning conversions, low-income housing construction, and those who are seriously considering an affirmative vote on Mayor Reed’s illegal fiscal emergency ballot initiative. Ask yourself why any piece of responsible legislation would need to have ‘poison pill’ language written into it (the heads I win, tails you lose method of achieving reform).

    All these decisions are costing taxpayers millions and are contributing to the steady decline of city services and the safety of the city, and Debra Figone is up to her eyeballs in it since she is the one whose office is responsible for developing the budget.

  5. “The grant is designed to help public safety respond to and recover from potential terrorism incidents” 

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!!!

    Homeland Security and TSA are taking over this country.

    • Isn’t it amazing how our Government continues to divide, replicate, and grow?
      The people of San Jose hire one guy, Chris Moore, to be the police chief of San Jose. To do one job. ONE job! Pretty soon he’s using the position of that one job to create a whole new division with a whole bunch of new jobs.
      And the government gets bigger.
      And the people go broker.

  6. How can a person (Figone) who shows no respect or adherence to a law her own office wrote (measure V) be trusted in any capacity – whether it’s as the fiscal agent for Bay Area UASI or as the Manager of a city with a million people in it?

    http://protectsanjose.com/content/caught-red-handed-city-manager’s-attempt-sidestep-law

    To John Galt and those who argue against the need for a collective bargaining association like the POA, perhaps you understand that there is no way that employees of San Jose can expect to be treated legally – much less fairly – by the City Manager or by those who hired her.

    • It’s a bitch sweating out this stock market tumble wondering how much of our retirement savings will evaporate isn’t it Officer D?
      Oh that’s right. I forgot! Even though your retirement money is invested in the stock market you public employees have no vested interest in the performance of those investments.

      Hundreds of billions of dollars of pension fund money flooded the stock market, artificially inflating share prices that private sector workers paid as they struggled to find good investments that would afford them a comfortable retirement.  Then, when this bubble collapses the public employees continue to collect monthly checks a if those stocks had continued to increase in value. And who subsidizes the shortfall? The same chumps who already had to overpayfor the stock in the first place thanks to the dilution of the share price caused by all this ‘funny money’. So public employee pensioneers are subsidized on both the front end and the back end of the investment equation.

      This is a situation that’s not fair, should not occur, and ONLY occurs due to public employees collectively bargaining for a benefit that is not realistically available to private sector workers.
      I’m all for putting police at the top of the priority list when it comes to the legitimate functions of a city government. But not when they insist on unionization. Public sector unionization was a Pandora’s Box and once it was opened it led to a huge explosion in the size, power, and cost of government. Simply put, government work became an irresistible job opportunity once collective bargaining was introduced. Since governmental bodies are monopolies they have no competition and no incentive to control costs- wages and benefits being the primary expense.
      So you’re not treated fairly by your manager or by ‘those who hired her’. That’s too bad. But it was you guys who chose to play hardball by unionizing.
      Police. Fire. Public works. Set a precedent. Drop the unions. Then we can start to get rid of the parasitic, non charter departments like Housing and Economic Development. There’d be more money left to pay YOU guys. If I had anything to say about it you’d be treated fairly and paid well… But no defined pension benefit or lifetime health benefits. You’d be expected to save for those things yourselves like grownups.

      • I’m sorry, John, but we are again going to have to agree to disagree here. First, the POA is not a ‘union’ it is different from a ‘union’ in numerous significant ways. Second, despite the vagaries of the stock market, the police and fire pension fund has consistently earned money. This past year, it reported a net gain of something on the order of 600% over its payements. Even in the stock market/housing crash, the fund still earned 4% and has averaged 8%, inclusive of the lowest performing years. At times, it was earning 12% to 20%.

        Secondarily, the point I was trying to make is that the city manager, the council and others have pursued actions which are ILLEGAL – even going to the extent of trying to circumvent laws that their own people wrote. This is a far cry from playing hard ball or even a general notion of ‘fairness’. Furthermore, the city has a history of firing or attempting to fire or discipline officers who have committed no crime or violated no department police. Rather they were sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. This happens far more often than is publicized because it doesn’t conveniently fit the narrative that the media would like the public to believe about public safety. These sorts of actions, left unchecked would be absolutely toxic to the work environment, and is, unfortunately, more prevalent in cities with a more liberal political atmosphere. They are exactly the sort of reason the POA and organizations like it exist: because police officers expect the city to make of them sacrificial lambs when it is convenient to do so.

        Lastly, you are associating two issues which have nothing to do with one another: the city’s intransigence when it comes to maintaining funding for non-charter departments and the POA. The police department is a charter department and has nothing to do with Housing or Economic Development. The one’s existence is not predicated on the other. and any non-charter department can be eliminated without changing the city charter by ballot measure. Further, the pension and health benefits have absolutely nothing to do with non-charter departments either. I think that, when addressing matters of public policy, it is extremely important not to conflate unrelated issues.

        • “city manager, the council and others have pursued actions which are ILLEGAL”

          Officer D
          I find your post creditable. Perhaps you can enlighten readers by addressing why City Council et al are not being investigated or charged for these supposed illegal activities? Would this be County, State or Federal jurisdiction?

        • Officer D,
          I too find your post creditible and I admit that in the pursuit of my own agenda I strayed from responding to your specific point.
          If the article to which you referred is to be believed- and I have no reason to think it shouldn’t be- then the City Manager did indeed attempt to bypass the provisions of her own Measure V. It’s unclear to me just why she would have done this. Fortunately though, the police have an organization which is dedicated to protecting it’s own members’ rights and interests, which has the resources and the ability to be constantly vigilant, and mechanisms to ensure that the City Manager not stray from the clearly defined set of procedures to which she is obligated to adhere. And in this case it looks like the POA did indeed quickly recognize what was going on and swiftly took action to protect their interests. And that’s terrific.
          If only the PEOPLE of San Jose had the same ability and resources to protect ourselves against the improper, politically motivated actions of the City Manager as our employees do.

      • You are such a whiner who consistently says things when you don’t know what you are talking about.

        Not fair (whine) Not fair (whine). Whine, whine whine because you chose the wrong profession. You are such a jealous person. I hope your effin’ business goes down the tubes. You deserve every bit of what you get.

        • Oh STFU!!!!!!!!,
          This really has nothing to do with jealousy. I don’t want what they have. That’s not at all what my criticism is about. It amazes me that that’s the only reason you can come up with to explain why a person might be critical of the government. Kind of says more about the way your mind works than it does about mine.
          I think our government is dysfunctional and I’m concerned about the effects because I care about my country, state, and city. You’re right, much of the time I don’t know WTF I’m talking about. I’m not an insider with detailed insider knowledge about the workings of our government. But I do know that our system isn’t working to the benefit of the governed and all I’m doing is using the circumstancial evidence available to me to try to analyze the mechanisms and broad dynamics that are at play.
          And if you’d open your eyes and turn on your brain you’d be doing the same thing.

        • > You are such a whiner who consistently says things when you don’t know what you are talking about.

          OK.  I’ll shut up.

          Was it something I said?

        • “It amazes me that that’s the only reason you can come up with to explain why a person might be critical of the government. Kind of says more about the way your mind works than it does about mine.”

          The “only reason”??? Where did you get that??? I’m not trying to explain *anything*. If you will notice, I said “consistently” says things when you do not know what you are talking about. That means “in total”, government or otherwise.  You are always “saying” things that do not make sense or “speaking” as if what you are saying is fact when it is actually so off base that I feel embarrassed for you. The other day, you opened your “mouth” and called the columnist a communist. Was that necessary? Do you know for a fact that he is a communist or was that another one of your made up, “blurt out” anything statements? You “say” these dumb, idiotic things, consistently. I’d bet you didn’t know that the columnist was going to respond directly to you, did you? Bet he’s keeping his “eye” on you. It’s like you never learn. All you do most of the time is Whine about the public employee and talk out of your a$$. Kinda says more about how YOUR mind works than mine. All the negativity you wish on these public employees and their job circumstance, I send back to you.

        • > I don’t think this was directed toward you.

          Well, I DO whine.

          And I often don’t know what I’m talking about.

  7. Will Figone collect more pay and pensions for her new acting fiscal agent of a Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative job on top of per City manger job ?

    Her city management record is shameful while she is widely recognized as media manipulator and sharp political back room deal maker who takes no responsibility for disastrous city budget, quickly blames others and is unaccountable to public and taxpayers while telling clueless Council how to vote

  8. THIS MORNING, I WENT TO 7-11 AND BOUGHT A MERCURY NEWS AND A SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICAL. AFTER BREAKFAST AND A VERY NICE AND RELAXING MORNING, I WAS LEFT WITH A FEELING OF INSECURITY, HAVING READ THE MERC. 
    SEEING OUR CHIEF OF POLICE WITH WHAT APPERAED TO BE A MADE UP CIRCLE OF SUPPORTERS.  WAS THAT THE HISPANIC CHAMBER REP, IN THE VERY MIDDLE?
      IN THE MIDST OF CRISIS, OUR MAN IS OFF SOLVING A CRISIS NOT YET INVENTED. SOME ONE IS PAYING HIS WAY TO BE UNINVOLVED IN OUR DIRE ISSUES. THE LAST PARAGRAPH, IS “IT IS DIFICULT TO DEAL WITH BOTH ISSUES”.  HELLO!
      DOES ANY ONE BESIDES ME FEEL THE DISCONNECT.  IT FEELS LIKE SOME ONE IS GREASING UP THE OLE BASEBALL BAT. WHAT IS IT THEY SAY ABOUT A SINKING SHIP?
      THE MEXICANS TOOK THE HEAT, FOR SOME TIME. THEY SAID “NO MAS”. NOW IT APPEARS THE WHORES AND PIMPS, ARE THE SCAPE GOATS,FOR THE RESULTS OF COPS BEING CUT.
      WHEN 6000 FOLKS GET CUT AT CISCO, THEY DON’T BLAME THE MEXICANS OR THE PIMPS AND WHORES, THEY DON’T EVEN BLAME THE CHINESE. THEY SIMPLY SUFFER IN SILENCE, AND FILE FOR UNIMPLOYMENT
      NO ONE SCREAMED AT THE RDA FOR SPENDING BILLIONS IN THE DOWN TOWN CORE, INSTEAD OF PUTTING THAT MONEY IN THE HOODS HELPING THE NEXT GENERATION, DEVELOP. WHEN A YOUNG MIND GOES TO BED HUNGRY AND SICK, THERE IS LITTLE LEFT , BUT TO TRY TO FIND A SOLUTION TO OUR LEADERS MOTIVE FOR ABANDONING OUR HEIGHBORHOODS.
      IF WE HAVE TO HIRE TWO FBI GUYS TO HELP US, WHEN THE MERC. HAS TOLD US THERE ARE 180,000 ILLIGALS IN OUR COUNTY, IT IS ALREADY TOO LATE.
    THINK ABOUT IT. THERE ARE 180,000 HOUSEHOLDS USING THESE GUYS TO MOW, PAINT, DIG, WASH, BABYSIT, NEED I GO ON?
      THE ARTICLE ABOUT PGE, WAS NO SURPRISE. WERE ANY OF YOU SURPRISED BY THE ACCUSATIONS, FROM THE EMPLOYEES?
      LASTLY, THE CHINESE ARE DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST.

      MERLE HAGGARD, SAID IT BEST,
    “ARE WE ROLLING DOWN HILL LIKE A SNOW BALL HEADED FOR HELL!”
      JUST MY FEELINGS ON A MONDAY MORNING.
      SEE YOU ALL AT THE JAZZ FESTIVAL.

      THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH

    • It’s a rare treat reading the ponderings of The Village Blacksmith. Though we’re 180 degrees apart- in politics anyway- an individual with his own unique slant is a refreshing departure. Who else on this site would be quoting the great Merle Haggard?
      I too, read each of the articles to which you referred and was disturbed by each of them- some on multiple levels. And yes, VB, I DO feel the disconnect though I’m sure my spin on it is a lot different from yours.

    • >  JUST MY FEELINGS ON A MONDAY MORNING.
      >  SEE YOU ALL AT THE JAZZ FESTIVAL.

      >  THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH

      I like music as well as the next person, Smithy, although my tastes are probably different than yours.

      And, I don’t begrudge anyone rational, and clear-minded enjoyment of the arts.

      But recognize that music is, in effect, a narcotic.  I think there are studies that show that listening to music increases the level of pleasure chemicals in peoples brains.

      It’s easy to see that the ruling class is really using “music saturation” to anesthetize the population, especially young people, repress their judgement, and turn them into behavioral zombies.  When was the last time you had a deep intellectual conversation with a teenager with an iPod earbud plugged into his head?

      Is the Recording Industry of America your friend, are they your oppressor?

      When the government provides “free jazz concerts”, is this just twenty-first century bread and circuses for the masses?

      Bottomline.  Enjoy your music.  But don’t let it own your mind or your soul.

  9. If the author would’ve done any amount of research, he would’ve noted that the City is NOT issuing bonds of any amount, is not the borrower or lender, and that the agency on the hook for the bond is a company who has a contract to provide a power cell to the WPCP.

    UTS will hold all of the risk for the fuel cell and it’s bonding.  Had the author actually READ the staff report, as I did when opening this article, he would’ve noted that the City actually receives money from this arrangement. 

    While the City hasn’t made wise choices, this approach seems to offer the lowest risk while maximizing efficiency and enhancing sustainable technology.  Get your story straight.

  10. How about the council hold a meeting to fire Chief Figone, be the first time they do something constructive

  11. How do you get a decent interest rate on your bonds if you are declaring a fiscal emergency?

    Unless you are using the term to advance a political agenda.  Sometimes Mayor Chuck Reed reminds me of the captain in the “Caine Mutiny”. 

    “Who took the strawberry’s?”

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