Rules to Consider ‘Revolving Door Policy’ Exemption, Slashing Developer Fees

An 85-year-old wheelchair-bound amputee got toppled over by a cyclist who came barreling down the sidewalk somewhere on King Road about a month ago, according to a letter submitted to the public record of the Rules and Open Government Committee.

The octogenarian got banged up pretty bad: bruises, scratches and a couple weeks of internal bleeding, the letter says. His wheelchair was totaled.

Sofia Mendoza and Joanne Ingold, of Homeowners Organized to Maintain Equity, sent letters to support a wider ban on sidewalk-cycling to protect kids and senior citizens.

Earlier this year, downtown Councilman Sam Liccardo introduced a plan to post up signs in his district to discourage folks from biking on the sidewalk. He’d received enough similar complaints to merit an ordinance, said Liccardo, who in the past year earned a reputation as the most bicycle-friendly city leader—and not just because he let Scott Herhold tag along. Liccardo also pushed for buffered bike lanes in downtown and timing the traffic lights on San Fernando Boulevard for bikers.

With all the improvements since last year to make the heart of the city bicycle-friendly, there’s enough room to ride in designated bike areas. No need to take up the sidewalk, he says in a March memo.

More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for September 18, 2013:

• The city’s considering an exemption of the “Revolving Door Policy” for Josue Garcia, Councilman Xavier Campos’ former chief of staff. Garcia’s now director of government relations and labor compliance for the Northern California Fire Protection Compliance Group, a role in which he monitors work of all fire sprinkler companies “engaged in working on Public Works and Prevailing Wage projects.”

The city’s “Revolving Door Policy” is designed to prevent an outside organization from having an unfair advantage, real or perceived, by hiring an ex-city employees to lobby city officials or influence city projects. Garcia left the city of San Jose less than a year ago.

• Silicon Valley has about 6.5 million square feet of office and R&D space under renovation or construction, but only a small amount of new development in San Jose. Mayor Chuck Reed says in a memo that the city should further cut developer fees, specifically the traffic impact fee, to $2 per square foot for any R&D campus that’s 1 million square feet or more. The discount should carry through to the end of 2014, the memo proposes.

“We should act now, before the economy changes direction and the window of opportunity closes,” Reed says.

• To celebrate the just-completed $130 million expansion of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, the city will sponsor a few grand opening events: the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2013 Structures Awards on Sept. 27; Community Day on Oct. 10; and the grand opening gala on Oct. 11.

• Too much of a volatile organic chemical called Trichloroethylene is dirtying up a landfill monitoring well. The city’s trying to figure out how to fix that.

WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408-535-1260

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


  1. I agree with Mr. Liccardo that bike riding on sidewalks is becoming a problem. I live near 2nd and Bassett and people in that neighborhood ride on sidewalks all the time. Unfortunately, many bicyclists think the world revolves around them.

  2. Oh, another discount for developers by Reed?  Who would have thought…

    $130M to renovate Convention Center- clearly money well spent while Streets are in shambles, The Water Treatment Plant suffers personnel losses, crime rises… and the Reed fiddles.

  3. Isn’t that Rose’s own son she’s giving a commendation to? Sure looks like him. Nepotism is at work here… Just like when she voted to forgive a $600,000 loan to her son’s employer!

    Just sayin…

    • Yes, that is indeed her son, David Herrera, founding principal of the Alum Rock Downtown College Prep School, that was the beneficiary of a $600,000 loan that was forgiven by the Council on June 18.

      The conditions for this loan forgiveness state that DCP shall merely add grades 9-12 over the next three years.

      According to Reed’s justification, by having DCP do this would create enough of a “public benefit” to justify the $600,000 loan forgiveness. When checking DCP’s own website at the time this item was going before Council, DCP was already moving in that direction of having all three grades open by next year.
      This really is a very low achievement bar in light that DCP was already going to expand to grades 9-12.  Was this even a meaningful performance measure, or simply a means to deliver a gift?  Especially galling is that this $600,000 loan forgiveness is coming from a City that, according to Mayor Reed, is already struggling to provide basic services to its residents.
      This issue has been on the Reed’s and the Council’s radar for some time, so councilmember Herrera was certainly aware of the potential conflict of interest that was about to come up.  Ultimately the loan forgiveness package was item 2.29 on the Consent Calendar, and passed handily with a 9-2 vote, which include Herrera’s yes vote. Noes were cast only by Constant and Rocha.

      It is difficult to imagine that some sort of conversation did not take place in the halls of the 18th floor about this looming conflict of interest, especially since this was on the Mayor’s March Budget message well before the actual Council vote. 
      (See 2.r: )
      It is depressing that under the banner of Open and Transparent Government, that this extreme lapse of judgment on councilmember Herrera’s part even took place.
      Then there is the issue of should the City even be providing loans or gifts of funds to charter schools, especially since they already receive support from the school districts in which they are located.  And where does the City draw the line on which schools will receive funds from the City?  Is it all of them, including public schools?  This is something that the City has absolutely no business getting involved.

      Unfortunately, this is not the last of the City’s involvement with charter schools.  According to the Mayor’s June Budget Message, the City has budgeted $250,000 to explore “partnership opportunities” with ACE Charter School, located in the Franklin McKinley school district.
      (see Spending Proposals 1.p: )

      The flimsy justification for this proposal is that a meeting room and some park facilities will be made available to the public outside of school hours.  As a San Jose taxpayer, I’m asking if these facilities are not already available to the public, by means of nearby libraries, schools, parks or community centers already in the area?  I believe that they are.
      In the interest of Open Government and transparency, it should be noted that the founder and executive director of ACE Charter School is Greg Lippman, who along with Jennifer Andaluz, coincidently are co-founders of Downtown College Prep.  Ms Andaluz was also an emcee for Mayor Reed’s 2010 State of the City address.  It is interesting how well and successful they network with the Mayor’s office.

      • You forgot to mention Susan Hammer is on the Board of Directors at ACE as well!

        It would be interesting to go back and see how many loans the city has forgiven in the past couple of years while we were experiencing “budget shortfalls.”
        The loan on Barbara Attard’s downtown condo that she never used swiftly comes to mind

  4. Liccardo’s sign posting is a non-starter on several fronts.

    1. What is “Downtown”? Elected officials and city staff don’t agree. How can SJPD be expected to act if city officials aren’t aligned?
    2. We already have an ordinance prohibiting sidewalk skateboard riding “downtown” with no effect on the dozens that skate on the Paseo De San Antonio path stretching from 4th St to the Fairmont and elsewhere on downtown sidewalks.
    3. We already have an ordinance about reckless behavior that’s rarely, if ever enforced.

    The sign proposal is a toothless response to a significant public safety concern. It appears that Liccardo is fearful of offending anyone in his bid to become San Jose’s next mayor.

  5. With respect to the TCE contamination:

    The July 11, 2013 email from Peter Schafer says that the “EPA criteria” for trichloroethylene is 2.5 ppb for drinking water and 30 ppb for organisms.  “The organism water quality standard of 30 ppb water would apply to the Plant’s effluent.”

    An email from Tom Vercoutere to Emily Hanson on April 17 2013 references TCE concentrations of 8,900 parts per billion, and said that a groundwater sample with 2,800 ppb had been collected the prior November, and there was a reading of 21,000 ppb on April 2. The magnitude of these readings with respect to the EPA limit of 30 ppb for TCE is a huge, huge red flag.

    Email from Emily Hanson to Fukuda, Napp on May 11, 2011 references a report “Nine Par Site Investigation.pdf”.  So what did they know about this problem over 2 years ago, and why is it just now being addressed?

  6. Not sure why sidewalk bicycle riding is mentioned so heavily in this article as it’s not related to the headline or any agenda item.

    That being said, the result of Liccardo’s march memo and proposal to ban sidewalk riding is basically nothing.  The DOT conducted a community meeting where there was significant opposition to a sidewalk riding ban, and so a program of “education” is being suggested.

    You can read the DOT report here:

    As for giving developers more sweetheart deals, FUNK DAT.

  7. Ah, now I see the letters are in response to the DOT’s recommendation.  As Arhat points out, existing prohibitions on reckless cycling and sidewalk skateboard riding are rarely if ever enforced.  SJPD isn’t going to be stopping cyclists on the sidewalk even if a law was passed.

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