Two minutes shy of deadline to place it on the Nov. 19 City Council agenda, Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio logged a request for the city to revisit the discussion about where to place a softball complex paid for by the remaining balance of a $228 million pool of bond funds.
As a result, Oliverio’s request popped up on Wednesday’s Rules and Open Government Committee agenda.
Last week, the council voted 6-5—with councilmembers Madison Nguyen, Ash Kalra, Sam Liccardo, Rose Herrera and Mayor Chuck Reed opposed—to delay building fields that voters have waited on for 13 years since passing Measure P.
The disagreement centers on location. One possibility would be to place up to four fields on a 12.5-acre lot just south of Eastridge Mall along Coleman Avenue, part of a project by Arcadia/Evergreen Circle Development. The Arcadia site has been studied, the land is free—thanks to a developer agreement—and construction is practically ready to commence.
Another possibility would integrate the complex into the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. This option could mean the city gets six or more fields. Problem is, the latter option would take more time to study. Maybe a several months more. It also involves another agency, the county, which further delays an already dragged-on project.
County Supervisor and San Jose mayoral candidate Dave Cortese wants to study the fairground option, he says. Supervisors discussed the softball complex the same day the city did last week.
“The reality is that most of us who are interested in getting this softball field built, we just want it to go somewhere,” he told San Jose Inside. “If we can come to terms with the city and the fairgrounds, there’s an opportunity to do something really extraordinary in terms of a first-class complex.”
The Arcadia site, Cortese said, would be an “average four-field complex” at best.
Rose Herrera, who wants to bring the fields to her own district, considers the debate politically motivated, an attempt to snatch a victory away from her.
Oliverio declined to talk about the issue further until it goes before the council.
“I’m saving all my comments for the council meeting,” he said. “When you’re on the prevailing side, you can file a motion for reconsideration to have council vote another time.”
• San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber CEO Matt Mahood weighed in on the discussion about the local fire code for high-rise buildings. He says it’s better for developers to have the option of either ferrying up firefighters and air tanks via elevator or air-refilling stations on each floor. The city had allowed the option of both, but the company that manufactures the refilling stations hired Casino M8trix lobbyists Rich de la Rosa (a former council candidate) and Sean Kali-Rai (former aide to Mayor Ron Gonzales) to attempt to reinstate the requirement to install just their system in high-rises. Last week, the council obliged, voting in favor of mandatory refilling stations for buildings higher than 75 feet. Now the chamber’s disappointed that there’s a lack of choice again, says chamber policy analyst Jim Reed.
• The city’s loyal pen-pal, David Wall, warns San Jose officials that requiring police recruits to pay their own way for academy training, as some have suggested, is a dumb move.
“Why?” he asked. “Because any San Jose police recruit ‘worth their salt’ will not ‘pay for academy training.’ They will have already cleared ‘background investigations and other hiring hurdles. This accomplishment alone makes them very tasty morsels for other agencies to capture from ‘the poaching grounds’ of a failed city.”
• Downtown Councilmember Sam Liccardo has grand plans for St. James Park. He’s asking the city to put together an exploratory committee to look into the option of putting in a music pavilion for year-round free-to-the-public concerts.