City to Revisit Softball Complex Discussion

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.”

More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for November 13, 2013:

• 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.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Matt Mahood , What a joke. What does this guy know of fire technology? of course this guy is going to side with developers, he’s in their pocket.

    Building this complex by Eastridge would be inline with the way San Jose does everything. very half a—ed . the fair grounds location should absolutely should be discussed further , if it can be done correctly it would be a way better option for all involved.

    Sam Liccardo is a joke ! he votes against a tax for public safety , but pushes for a tax for an amphitheater. even as the City crumbles from the lack of public safety and severe mismanagement.

  2. Softball complex, really!  You asked voters to approve this 13 years ago.  Show me the money, where is it?  Did you spend it on other pet projects?  After 13 years I hope it made some interest. 

    Put the St James park plan to rest it has been a homeless drug haven for my 30 years serving SJ, nothing will change until Chuck and his chain gang are gone.

    Even then good luck.  Downtown needs a real law enforcement change and that will not come with Sam.  I tell everyone do not venture into downtown unless you are looking for a prostitute, drugs or a fight.

  3. Mr. Wall’s warning is on the mark. The time and expense involved in the recruitment, testing, and ranking of police hiring candidates is considerable. At this time SJPD is running juvenile Rambo-style recruitment ads on television as part of the effort to attract enough candidates for a productive written test. The costs of the ad space, plus the cost of producing them in-house, is just part of its recruitment budget. If SJPD does, as it has traditionally, “reach out” into select communities, and/or provide pretest training sessions (staffed by overtime officers), that constitutes extra cost before the first test is ever administered.

    Police departments typically administer written tests to groups that are, in large part, cognitively unqualified for the job. Due to the dismal state of our educational system, interference via the Americans with Disabilities Act, Economic Opportunities Commission, and local race and gender hucksters, the typical written test pool requires considerable filtering. Perhaps a third will pass, with only one-third of those successful even worth a look.

    Oral interviews are major productions—lots of time, lots of people; psych tests and polygraphs are costly; and then you get to the background investigations (which, if done on the cheap, are valueless).

    The city has absolutely no authority to prevent any successful applicant from signing on elsewhere until it presents the applicant with a conditional job offer, something it cannot do until it has created, through the budget, actual jobs to be filled. This is not something the City of San Jose has ever done well (typically, parting with money for police is done with much political hoopla or not at all). As example, back when it was funding the Mexican Heritage Plaza and its new city hall, San Jose regularly allowed its police hiring lists to linger on so long that the lists either expired, unused, or the top candidates were lost to other agencies. Hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted, credibility tarnished, opportunities squandered.

    All the fault, I guess, of its greedy employees.

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