Politics

Learning from the Brenden Tiggs Tragedy

On Sunday, Brenden Tiggs, an 18-year-old African American student at San Jose State, committed suicide in his dorm room. According to local media, his dad did not believe the coroner’s ruling, because his son was doing well and seemed happy. While it’s a topic we often don’t like to talk about, suicide rates for young men in the United States are especially troubling.

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The Importance of the Secretary of State and a Stolen Election

Dan Schnur, an independent candidate for California’s secretary of state position, served as a political consultant to John McCain, back when the Arizona senator was still a maverick running against George W. Bush. We have had tremendous disagreements on some policy issues, but we have similar views when it comes to integrity in government, the honesty of elections, the enhancement of voting rights and the education of voters.

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Xavier De La Torre Leaving Post as County Superintendent of Education

After a rocky year-and-a-half on the job, it appears Santa Clara County Office of Education Superintendent Xavier De La Torre will be heading back to Texas for a job as superintendent of a smaller school district. San Jose Inside reported more than three months ago that De La Torre was on the brink of being fired or resigning after a series of dustups with staff, a dissatisfactory performance review and concerns about a cheating scandal.

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The False Narrative in Assemblymember Nora Campos’ Damage Control

Assemblymember Nora Campos is apparently that rare politician who just knows what the people want without asking. So, when she relinquishes half a million dollars to the state, rather than having a properly staffed office or conducting outreach services to her constituents, she’s bucking her budget allotments out of a noble sense of duty. That’s the message Campos’ communications director, Steve Harmon, trotted out during an interview with local radio station KLIV 1590 in response to a report Metro/San Jose Inside published last week. A closer inspection of Harmon’s comments, however, show that they don’t pass the smell test.

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By the Numbers: 46,000 e-books

E-books used to focus on niche topics geared toward small, zany readerships, which made for riveting titles such as Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen or The Hidden Power of Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop. Now e-books cover the gamut, and the Santa Clara County Library District announced this week that it has 46,000 digital titles in its collection, including pop culture favorites like Wolf of Wall Street and 50 Shades of Grey—you know, if you’re into corporate barbarism or Penthouse letters.

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Xavier Campos Pushes Half-Cent Sales Tax to Hire More Police

San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos has proposed a half-cent sales tax measure so the city can hire more police officers. “Ideally, no one would want to increase taxes,” he writes in a memo going before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday. “However, this council has worked before on making tough fiscal decisions to increase services to our citizens.”

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County Health Plan Enrollment Numbers Just Short of Projections

Valley Health Plan has managed to capture about 3 percent of the Santa Clara County market under Covered California, which is slightly below state levels. Though this figure pales in comparison to enrollment figures reported by the top four major healthcare providers, and it’s not as strong a figure as county officials expected two months away from the end-of-March enrollment deadline, it does represent a comparable market share to other small, local health plans, according to county officials.

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County Democrats Endorse Dave Cortese in San Jose Mayor’s Race

Dave Cortese came away with the official backing of county Democrats after every other San Jose mayoral candidate withdrew their application for the endorsement. The vote by the Santa Clara County Central Democratic Committee (DCC) came before Forrest Williams decided to drop out of the race. Williams then threw his support behind the county supervisor in his bid for mayor.

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Mayor Reed Files Lawsuit over Wording of State Pension Reform Initiative

Backers of Mayor Chuck Reed’s state pension reform initiative filed a lawsuit this morning to change what they call inaccurate ballot language published by the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris. The only recourse to change a ballot summary in California is in court. And since all signature-gathering to place the measure on the 2014 ballot will stop until the case is resolved, it likely won’t make it to voters for another two years.

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Gates Foundation Donates $100,000 to Franklin-McKinley Schools

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted $100,000 to Franklin McKinley School District to fund startup costs to promote collaboration between the traditional public school district and all its charter schools. The possibility that this seed money can lead to a much larger piece of the Gates Foundation Collaborative Compact financial pie is real, and predicated on the effort and results of the start-up phase. Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Joseph DiSalvo says that in order to radically impact student achievement and graduation rates in San Jose, especially for students of color and those living in poverty, we must work with all publicly-funded partners to reach new heights of high achievement for all. Too many efforts and public dollars are going into litigation in the old toxic model of competition between districts and charters.

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