County Talks Code Enforcement, Lobotomies, Saving Water

County code enforcement is a mess. Cases are badly backlogged, databases are out of date and the department receives so little revenue that it drains the county’s general fund.

Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss some fixes to the department-wide problems, to make the office "swift, fair and effective."

Part of the issue comes from layoffs after the economic recession six years ago, the county says. But that’s being fixed with a plan to hire more staff, modernize tracking software and come up with a more efficient way to prioritize code violation cases.

Over the past decade, the department's building division has logged 2,036 cases and resolved just 731. That leaves 1,305 unresolved. Staff blames a "woefully insufficient" database.

More from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agenda for May 13, 2014:

  • Former Agnews Developmental Center ward Howard Dully was 12 when a doctor poked an icepick through his eyelids and scrambled his frontal lobe. The Santa Clara County resident, now in his 60s, was one of only a few children and one of about 2,500 patients between the 1940s and ‘60s to undergo a lobotomy at the hands of a psychiatrist named Walter Freeman. Dully survived, but always felt a part of himself was missing. Still, he managed to build a life for himself, becoming a bus driver, earning a college degree, marrying the love of his life and writing a book. My Lobotomy (2007) details his experience as one of a few functioning survivors of a barbaric surgery. Supervisors will take a moment when they meet to commend Dully’s bravery in telling his story.
  • The Lions Club wants your old eyeglasses to give to the needy.
  • Supervisors will take a moment to remember Aldyth Parle, a former Santa Clara councilwoman who died this month in a car crash.
  • Supervisors will review a five-year re-entry plan, which lays out a blueprint for how to integrate ex-inmates back into the community.

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Clerk of the Board, 408.299.5001

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


  1. > •The county created a work group to oversee its civil detainer policy, a local rule that exempts law enforcement from turning over undocumented criminals to federal immigration officials.

    This is pure B.S.

    A policy to DEFY Federal Law!

    And what’s worse, it costs MONEY to defy Federal Law:

    > Administration believes that it is prudent to set aside $150,000 over the 18-month anticipated life of the Work Group for these purposes.

    Not to mention the fact that NOT turning over “undocumented criminals to federal immigration officials” means that County tax payers OWN said “undocumented criminals”, and necessarily must provide them with “three hots and a cot” (that’s copster-speak for three meals a day and accommodations in the slammer).

    Which means it will cost even MORE money!

    I DO wish that voters would pay more attention to their civic duties and the public good and stop electing lawless spendthrift jerks to public office.

    • You can thank Dave Cortese, “public safety” mayoral candidate for the County’s lenient policy on criminal illegal aliens
      Dave, Ken, and Cindy.

  2. “The state will pay nearly $1 million for the county to hire a consultant for the Social Services Agency to oversee a new database project.”

    Actually, what the county will do, according to the report, is task an existing county employee with overseeing the project; which will most likely come in very late and very over budget, if the past is any guide.

  3. Here is a comment from Supervisor Mike Wasserman on the county’s “civil detainer policy”:

    “The Board of Supervisors adopted our current policy to not cooperate with the Federal Government on Civil Detainer Requests, last year. I voted against that policy, as I had done the first time it was brought to the Board. I will not attempt to explain why the other Board members voted the way they did, it did not make sense to me then, or now….”

    We need to get to the bottom of this.

    We need to find out which lizards voted for this offensive and divisive policy.

    Someone has some ‘splainin’ to do.

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