An audit of the San Jose Fire Department didn’t include enough analysis of staffing, councilmembers Ash Kalra and Xavier Campos argue in a memo. They want to look into whether the shorter staffing levels are what led to longer response times and loss in overall service.
The audit counts 763 employees in the department, an increase from 2012 but still 12 percent less than in 2007.
“Given that there are almost 100 fewer personnel, this could in fact be a direct cause of the loss in overall services performed and response times,” the memo says. “In addition, this may also explain difficulty and capability of department staff to do activities such as frequent inspections, prompt follow-ups and community outreach and educational events.”
The City Council will consider the suggestion when it meets Tuesday.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for May 14, 2013:
• The city appears ready to pay $325,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of 2-year-old killed by a toppled city-maintained tree.
After a family dinner, Esmeralda Galan, Jose Ortiz and their toddler, Mateo Ortiz, parked at a relative’s house in downtown to pick up their 13-year-old son. Above them was the canopy of a 10-ton silver maple, rotted at the roots. Before they got a chance to hop out of the truck, the tree slammed into the cab, hurting the parents and killing their son.
The family later sued the city, alleging it let public property fall into dangerous condition. Someone should have known and should have done something about it, the lawsuit says.
City attorney Richard Doyle denies the allegations and any liability in the case. There’s not enough evidence to prove the city’s liability, Doyle says in a memo. Better to settle, he says, to sidestep the risks of a court trial.
• The council will publicly commend police officers Bruce Barthelemy, Gustavo Perez and Hau Ngo for “for their courageous actions in the line of duty” in catching suspects who were armed and dangerous.
• It’s a pretty well-reported fact that in many low-income neighborhoods, fresh produce is hard to find. Often, the only nearby stores peddle liquor and processed snacks. So it’s a little bewildering that so many cities crack down on roadside fruit vendors, citing them for permit violations or other petty grievances. A lot of community groups in San Jose, on the other hand, recognize these street-side produce sellers as foot soldiers in the fight against the widespread disparity in food access.
The council will consider a Planning Commission recommendation to relax rules on sidewalk food vending to make it easier for people to buy healthy food.
The revised policy would allow vendors to sell fresh fruits and veggies without a planning permit between 7am and 9pm, up to two hours a day per vendor and four hours a day per lot on sites like schools, libraries, community centers or religious assemblies.
“The intent is to ease access to healthful produce near where people live, work and play, and would support micro-enterprises by simplifying and reducing zoning regulations to allow the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables [near homes],” according to the recommendation submitted by Joseph Horwedel of the city’s Planning Department.
• Monitoring fire alarms at the city’s 300 public buildings will cost $475,000 this year, according to a contract up for consideration with Gilroy-based Security Alert Systems of California, Inc.
• The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is about to be nominated to the World Rose Garden Hall of Fame. City Manager Debra Figone will travel to New York City to accept the award during a lecture later this month.
• A $1 million grant will pay for San Jose’s share of an upgraded Bay Area-wide public safety communication system called the Urban Area Security Initiative.
• Councilmembers will consider restoring the 10 percent of their salaries cut since the Great Recession. That would bring Mayor Chuck Reed’s annual pay back up to $119,700. Councilmembers would earn $85,050, up from the current $81,000.
WHAT: San Jose City Council
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose