How Did Mayor Sam Liccardo Do in His First 100 Days?

Sam Liccardo stepped into his new role as San Jose mayor in the wake of a bitter campaign and years-long pension reform battle that left bad blood between City Hall and its unions. Especially the Police Officers Association, which waged a formidable campaign to prevent another Measure B proponent from succeeding outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed.

So in a show of diplomacy Liccardo rang in the New Year and first day as mayor inside a cop car, for an after-midnight ride-along.

Though tensions between pension reform-backers and labor persist, the two sides appear more willing to work out a compromise. Meanwhile, the mayor's first stretch into his term has been marked by ceremonies, celebrations, new spending plans, partnerships and, just last month, a tragedy that shook the city.

In an email to constituents this week, Liccardo summed up his first 100 days in office and reminded the public to get involved as the city finalizes next year's budget and starts looking for a new independent police auditor.

Below is a copy of Mayor Liccardo's letter:

Dear friends,

I've been in office for just over 100 days. While we've collectively mourned a tragedy with the loss of Officer Michael Johnson, the community has rallied together to support Officer Johnson's family and our police department.

We've also been blessed with much to celebrate—the opening of major league soccer stadium, the arrival of companies employing hundreds of San Jose residents (like Vanderbend Manufacturing, BAE Systems, and Naprotek), the launch of new job-creating flights to Beijing and Dallas from our airport, and a reduction in serious crime rates, continuing a two-year trend.

We have much more work ahead, however. Last month, over a thousand members of our community gathered for my State of the City address, which we staged outside of downtown—for the first time in the city's history —at Independence High School on the East Side. I spoke about several initiatives we're launching to focus on improving safety, and on bridging the opportunity gap for many families struggling to make ends meet in our very expensive valley. The event also showcased the promising musical and performing arts talent among our youth. If you missed it, check out the video on my website.

The council unanimously approved my first budget last month. I identified improving safety as my top priority, and we've identified funding to boost staffing in the San Jose Police and Fire departments, hiring additional community service officers, and investing in gang prevention. We also focused resources on smarter ways to make our neighborhoods safer, such as by transforming our streetlights with brighter, more energy-efficient LED lighting, deploying tools to improve pedestrian safety like speed radar trailers and traffic calming, and by using data analytics to predict and prevent crime.

With the city of San Jose in stronger fiscal shape, I have used this budget message to focus the city's gaze on our future, encouraging investments in children, and on the long view. Through the budget message, we'll:

  • open every branch library six days each week;
  • partner with civic-minded employers like Bank of America, Home Depot, Lowe's, Microsoft, and Target and the County of Santa Clara to employ hundreds of teens this summer in gang-impacted neighborhoods through our SJ Works initiative;
  • and invest $2 million over two years, combined with foundation and private-sector funds, to launch after-school programs for low-income kids through SJ Learns.

Looking to the future also requires a focus on those critical pieces of infrastructure—the water supply, BART, and roads—that will enable San Jose to thrive in the decades ahead. Through the budget message, we've set a path for the accelerated construction of a recycled water system that can recharge our underground drinking water supplies, the extension of BART to the Mineta San Jose Airport, and a dramatic expansion of road maintenance. The city manager will release his proposed budget on May 1, and we invite you to attend any of the many community meetings to discuss your priorities with your neighbors.

Partnerships and Innovation

I recently launched the Office of Strategic Partnerships in the Mayor's Office. Silicon Valley companies, foundations, and other organizations have repeatedly expressed a desire to better work with the city to confront our challenges. This office, led by Khanh Bui Russo, recently from the Cisco Foundation, created an office dedicated to facilitating partnerships amongst the city, nonprofits, philanthropy, and business to engage in more innovative and collaborative work. We're focusing on substantial improvements to restore services and public safety, and in doing so we're going to have to find new ways of doing business. Through these partnerships, we can work smarter and benefit all of San Jose's residents.

Honoring Our Fallen Public Safety Officers

Earlier this month, Councilmember Raul Peralez and I announced plans to reignite efforts to erect a memorial at City Hall for fallen public safety officers. The original memorial was approved in 2008, however, was never built for lack of funds. I have pledged $75,000 from my office towards the effort and I'll be partnering with my colleagues on the City Council, San Jose Police Officers Association and San Jose Police Foundation to raise the remaining funds. Please visit our website if you'd like to contribute.

Other Milestones and Good News
  • Thanks to Kaiser Permanente and Pinger for recently sponsoring the "San Jose Gateways" initiative, partnering with the Downtown Streets Team to engage homeless men and women in a "work first" approach to self-sufficiency, who beautify and clean the entrances to our city. If you think that your employer might also sponsor a "gateway," please contact Dylan Simon at [email protected].
  • San Jose's security camera registry is live! If you've got cameras at your home or business, sign up at The program is voluntary and SJPD will only contact you when an incident occurs in the area and officers wish to review footage. This tool will be used to help combat burglaries and other neighborhood crime.
Upcoming Meetings and Events
Justice Scales Independent Police Auditor Community Feedback Meetings
The City will soon recruit for a new Independent Police Auditor and would like community input on the ideal candidate qualities. The information collected will help inform the process and evaluation of candidates. Two community meetings are scheduled to collect input from residents. See the flyer for the meetings schedule.
Calculator and Budget Community Budget Meetings
The City's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-16 will be released on May 1st, followed by a series of community meetings throughout the City to discuss. See the community budget meetings schedule.

Youth San Jose Works
Summer jobs are critical for neighborhood safety, keeping teens on a productive path and out of gangs. While we're starting with summer employment, launching the program this summer, we're also looking at longer term ways to engage youth in the workforce and put them on a track to develop skills. If you're interested in this issue, please join the working group at its next meeting on April 28th, please call my office for details at (408) 535-4800.

Children writing San Jose Learns
Our SJ Learns initiative focuses on expanding afterschool opportunities for children in Kindergarten through third grade. When kids have positive alternatives and academic enrichment opportunities during the critical afterschool hours, they're more likely to choose learning and reject gangs. The next working group meeting is May 15th at 8:30 a.m. at Berryessa Library, 3355 Noble Ave.

South Vietnam and US Flags Black April Remembrance Month
On April 14th, I along with my Council Colleagues proclaimed the month of April, Black April Remembrance Month, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. Many community organizations are hosting events to observe this occasion, and I will be hosting a Mayoral Reception on April 30th at City Hall at 4:30 p.m. to honor the service men and women, immediately followed by a community event hosted by Councilmember Nguyen, Councilmember Kalra and the Vietnamese American Roundtable at 6 p.m. in the Rotunda. I invite you to participate in these events throughout the community.
Thanks for all the different ways you engage and work to make our City great, if you're interested in getting involved in any of the initiatives I've mentioned or you've got other ways you'd like to serve, please sign up on my website.
Together, we are San Jose!


  1. B+…much better than Chuckles in making inroads with the next generation of Leadership including Peralez, who may succeed him in 2023…as well as labor

  2. He may be Reed 2.0 but I’ll give him credit, at least he’s made some effort to repair the relationship with labor that Reed destroyed.

  3. Liccardo’s done an exemplary job of continuing the status quo. It’s clear that he’s the man when it comes to extending San Jose’s legacy as a soulless, money obsessed city. He’s shown a particular adeptness at pandering to the public’s belief in the idea that the quality of a city is defined by it’s relationship with employee unions, the compassion it shows to the homeless, and the number of potholes it ignores.
    Make no mistake, pretty soon he’ll be bragging about San Jose’s status as a world class city because of his policy of depriving it’s people of water even as he diverts his thirsty constituents’ tax dollars toward the development of yet more housing. And the Mercury News and Jennifer and Josh will be applauding him all the way. And the thirsty people will drink it up like Koolaid.

  4. The only issue that matters is whether the new Mayor can restore adequate public safety services through making peace with the City’s employees. Everything else is window dressing and gimmicks. If San Jose does not have a credible police force, the City will face steady decline no matter how many roads we pave or homeless we house.

    • What really matters: the number of police on the force, or the crime rate? I don’t think the number of police we employ is intrinsically valuable in itself. What’s important is the crime rate, and most indicators show that it’s been declining.

      There is a documented phenomenon that criminologists and scholars of public opinion have written on: people ALWAYS think that crime is on the rise, regardless of whether it is rising or declining in reality. Dave Cortese and the public sector unions capitalized on this phenomenon during the 2014 Mayoral race. The word “fear-mongering” is a strong but accurate term to describe this tactic.

      Still, Mayor Liccardo appears very attuned to the public concern over crime, and has clearly been making an effort to “make peace” with those same public sector unions.

      • “What’s important is the crime rate, and most indicators show that it’s been declining”…..Of course its declining, when the Chief via the Mayors(past/current) instruction makes it a priority to re-categorize crimes, manipulate crime stats, and citizens so fed up with being victimized (numerous times) stop calling 911, because they know NOTHING will be done. Sam gets a A+++, “We are San Jose”

        • Not sure that the Mayor Liccardo or Mayor Reed had the power to manipulate FBI statistics, but I’m always open to changing my views if you can back up your accusations with credible evidence.

          • You are right,they cannot manipulate the FBI stats however they can influence (through dept policy) how crimes are reported. The “new” AFR report writing / records keeping system has crime report writers fill in data for statistical purposes when completing crime reports. That data is sent to the FBI to compile the FBI stats. SJPD Dept policy directs officers and “guides” them as to what data to enter and when (subjectively) it is “proper” to enter it.

            Betty Z’s link is even more to the point… The Chief and Mayors Office said crime was down by comparing Stats from two months – two months separated by other months whose crime data was ignored. (example: in month 1 year x there were 10 robberies and in month 6 year x there were only 5 therefore robberies in the first 6 months are down 50%. This is hogwash because in month 2-5 in year x there were a total of 50 robberies and in the previous year “w” first 6 months there were only 45 total robberies)

            The Chief and Mayor cooked the books… besides prior to this pronouncement the Chief said Gang Crime was down then had to backtrack and revise that SJPD in fact DID change the criteria they were using to clarify crime as Gang related or not. Reed’s office benefited from the false claim (apparently even today) and SJPD’s credibility was damaged.

      • Carthagus: Please tells us your vision for SJPD:
        1) How many sworn officers for SJPD to be considered fully staffed.
        2) The target response times for priority 1 and 2 emergency calls.

      • Its comical how “your types” i.e. staffers , aids etc continually draw the unions into the discussion. The big bad union represents each cop on the street. There have been pay cuts since 2009 to go along with the 21.9% employee contribution before taxes. Do the math smart guy. BTW proactive policing has a LOT to do with crime rates. Proactive policing doesn’t happen anymore in SJ. Please get off your “crime is dropping” soapbox. You don’t have a clue working on a friday or saturday night of the violent calls stabbings, shootings, robberies and carjackings that are not reported in the media. Get over yourself and your love affair with everything SAM and the other fools on the 18th floor! Its an insult to the citizens and cops!

      • Carthagus: SF has fewer residents than SJ. SF has 1800 police officers, plus I don’t know how many sheriffs deputies. Mayor Lee wants to increase SF’s police dept. to 2200 officers. SJ has about 900 police officers. Yet recent reports show that the violent crime rate in SF is considerably higher than the violent crime rate in SJ. Given those facts, it would seem that the number of police officers, taken alone, has little relationship to the rate of violent crime.

  5. Its all Rhetoric . As far as Public Safety goes , Nothing has changed . they are still leaving , they are still way overworked and underpaid . His solution is to look for grant money for more (PD/FD) but that will only cover 2 years , And Sammy is not willing to pick up the tab for the rest. so the city will continue its descent into the toilet

  6. Mr. Liccardo may think he has a long list of “accomplishments” but the reality is San Jose still cannot provide the most basic services to residents. San Jose’s per capita tax revenue is the lowest of cities in the area mainly caused by ongoing bad planning decisions by the council. Violent crime may be down but property crimes are rampant in most neighborhoods, most unreported as residents know SJPD can do very little. Mr. Liccardo will be judged by the number of police officers on the street at the end of his first term. At the Almaden meeting, Mr. Liccardo had very little to say on how he plans to rebuild SJPD other than he was negotiating. If San Jose cannot offer a competitive compensation package due to its paltry tax revenue, negotiating cannot solve the public safety crisis as officers and recruits will continue to flee.

  7. Hey SJI, Why does the link to “view results” related to Grading Riccardo’s first 100 days” NOT show the results and merely reload the article without the poll question? are the results favorable or not?

  8. Heres a few snipets for Carthagus;
    4/21 Mckee Rd parolee felon seen with a handgun. SWAT responds for surround and callout. flash bangs deployed. suspect booked for parole violation and robbery warrant.
    4/21 Blossom hill rd suspect leans out of acura and shoots at victim with a rifle after the victim followed suspect who was tampering with his vehicle
    4/20 Monterey rd victim approached by male, knife placed at his chest. Vehicle is taken and drives off…
    4/20 male victim stabbed in the back on the sidewalk of Thackeray Ln EMS transports to Regional for emergency surgery
    4/20 Capitol Ex stolen vehicle rams police car during pursuit. Suspect gets away after pursuit terminated
    4/17 drive by shooting Bridges academy on mclaughlin 3 rounds fired into building

      • Pages of Watch Commander entries just like this are distributed to the mayor thw council and their staff and anybody who is any body in addition to the media every day… the politicians bury their heads in the sand while the media ignores…

  9. ‘Carthagus,’ did the Mercury News tell you that all is well in San Jose even though the police department is shrinking? It must make you feel better. Statistics, math, manipulation, and manufactoring of data makes you feel better, than good for you. They don’t tell the entire picture. You don’t hear the calls for service. You are not riding in the cars. You are not aware of the crime issues. So enjoy your reality of life from the armchair of your hole in the ground. SJPD was one of the premier ‘proactive’ departments in the country. I hope it returns.

  10. One needed go back too far to remember when drive-by shootings in Oakland (large sample size) almost always took place, as expected, late at night and away from heavily-patrolled streets and boulevards. This was consistent with how violent street crime had traditionally been committed, a reflection of the criminal’s fear of being observed and/or being intercepted by police on patrol. Things began to change about a decade ago. No longer feeling obligated to wait for late night hours, Oakland’s emboldened street thugs started employing their terror tactics earlier and earlier, to the point that it is now not at all uncommon for them to ply their trade in broad daylight — anywhere in the city.

    What changed? Certainly not the criminals themselves. They’re no dumber than than were ten years ago, nor are they less motivated to avoid capture. All that changed is their perception of the risks — based on the city’s declining ability to protect itself. In the wake of significant reductions in both police staffing (due to layoffs and hiring freezes) and proactive enforcement (due to race-politics), Oakland’s lawbreakers realized that the likelihood of their being stopped by the police had dropped significantly. This freed them up to change their behavior in two ways. The first was to operate almost exclusively in stolen vehicles (absent adequate patrol and proactive cops the risk is next to nil). A crime committed in a stolen car, especially by occupants outfitted in hooded clothing, eliminates the threat posed by witnesses (and security cameras) — making these rolling predators appear, to the city’s most vulnerable residents, as if they were invincible. The second was to travel armed. With the chances of being stopped down the risk of a weapons charge is similarly reduced (even more so for those willing to run from the cops, crash the car, and bail on foot). Traveling armed and incognito makes you (your kind) both feared (small wonder no one talks to the police) and capable of exploiting opportunities (like jacking a stranded motorist or shooting a hated rival).

    These vicious criminals have left their marks elsewhere in the Bay Area but it is in the city of Oakland where they operate with near impunity — their reign of terror made possible by the fiscal and political crippling of OPD, and only a fool could think San Jose will escape unblemished after doing the same to its police department.

    • Do you think we have the kind of gang problem Oakland does? Not arguing with you – it’s an honest question.

      • Without a doubt… the human trafficking and collateral drug trade, violent assaults robberies and yes several homicides are not only the “Same kind of gang problem Oakland” has but the crimes in San Jose are being COMMITTED by Gangsters who have set up shop right here in Mayberry San Jose!

        … and again, inquiring minds would like an honest answer from the local media: WHY ISNT THIS BEING REPORTED? WHY ARE RESIDENTS BEING KEEP IN THE DARK?


          Possibly the most naive question you have ever asked, Wheedle.

          I don’t even have to be generous to say “you’re smarter than that”.

          I think you know the reasons. I think most people and many other higher life forms (turnips, slugs, weasels) know the reasons.

  11. Liccardo needs a better speech writer, or at least stop writing his own stuff. He sounds like a high school student body president and not a mayor…

    Liccardo has the ability to be a good mayor but so far he’s leading from the middle not the front. Fortune favors the bold, not the mediocre.

    Nothing in the last 100 days suggest boldness: summer jobs program, after school programs? Been done before by two mayors before him. Sorry Sam, not that visionary or bold.

    Even his executive staff and department heads inspire little confidence. Aren’t these the same people who for the past 8-10 years have offered little in the way of notable accomplishment? Small Businss Incubator anyone?!

    Stop trying to be all things to all people and lead.

  12. I walk every day past the Gonzo Aviary, AKA “R2 D2”. On earth Day, both water fountains were generously gurgling water. Only at City Hall. Do they run those fountains day and night? I’m sure the homeless that bivouac behind the Aviary, are gratefull. Water Shortage? Not at Sam’s New House!

    • Black Smith those fountains use reclaimed water in a closed loop system. The misters use fresh water, but the amount of water they use is negligible. Also, city hall is noticeably devoid of landscaping.

  13. Hiring CSOs and giving the MGPTF more money will do nothing to reduce crime. We may not need thousands of cops here, but let’s keep some good, well compensated ones around for beginners. Seems like an obvious first start.

  14. Well, I still want to know about the hidden Child Molestation tapes, the Doctor at VMC that did Child Molestations that other doctors called “Blatant Molestation” and the doctor walked, 300 cases were overturned and one guy got a $1,000,000.00 settlement until the county silenced the settlements and most of all I want to know about Liccardo’s $2, 095,000.00 for the city in the Licking v. San Jose undefended lawsuit which gave the drug rehab dentist the money, his business back indefinitely for a lease of $1.00 a year. Just imagine what he is doing now with $300,000,000.00 in Deeds from the Defunct Baseball Stadium Parcel Purchase Scam with taxpayers money. Suffer citizens suffer.

    • I love when million-dollar numbers are quoted with a decimal and cents. Makes that number seem so … large. Just like those 99 cents tacked on prices make them seem so … affordable.

  15. > We also focused resources on smarter ways to make our neighborhoods safer, such as … deploying tools to improve pedestrian safety like speed radar trailers and traffic calming, …..


    I think the picture is coming into focus.

    “Pedestrian safety” and “traffic calming” are code words for something called “Vision Zero”, which is an “international” initiative (can you say U.N.) to reduce traffic accidents to “zero”. Hence, the clever warm and fuzzy (and deceptive and misleading) “Vision Zero” reference.

    The predictable social engineering logic is that reducing traffic accidents to zero occurs when traffic is reduced to zero.

    Bottom line, it is a U.N. driven, federally funded, locally administered scheme to “get people out of their cars”, and all of the leftist pipe dreams that go along with that: reducing the use of fossil fuels, ending global warming, encouraging the use of public transit, concentrating people into “urban transit villages”, making it easier for “community organizers” to get the voting livestock to vote for “progressives”.

    In San Jose, “Vision Zero” is going to be blessed with $80 million from Obama’s stash to NARROW Branham Lane in order to REDUCE traffic flow.

    This is what we pay taxes for. So the government can use OUR money to manipulate OUR behavior.

    So, those activists who have been trashing Sam Liccardo and urging people to hate him are about to get their wish.

    I am crossing Liccardo off of my list of acceptable people.

    This is war.

    I am launching my own campaign to oppose “Vision Zero”. I am calling it “Vision Minus Sixteen”.


    • Sam wants everyone on a bicycle, Bubble Boy, so get used to it. As if someone who lives in Blossom Valley will pedal to work in Mountain View and show up at work all sweaty and stinky. Perhaps Sam and Guardino can inspire us all by entering this years Amgen Tour riding a tandem bike wearing matching spandex.

      • > As if someone who lives in Blossom Valley will pedal to work in Mountain View and show up at work all sweaty and stinky.

        A little sweat and aroma isn’t the issue, Johnmichael.

        It’s the fact that the United Nations is meddling in the freedom of movement of San Jose citizens driving their cars on San Jose streets.

        The reason you’re being manipulated to drive at twenty miles an hour on Branham Lane is because Vladimir Putin and the rag tag satraps of the third world want it that way.

  16. Buyer’s remorse.

    I voted for Liccardo for mayor for one simple reason: he wasn’t the chosen candidate of big labor.

    I suspected that Liccardo was a “progressive” Democrat, but hoped he would be the lesser evil.

    Too my chagrin, I am being reminded once again that the lesser evil can still be pretty damn evil.

    Exhibit A: Liccardo is pushing “affordable housing”. All of the housing in San Jose is currently affordable … by someone.

    “Affordiable housing” is just politician-speak for commanding that a subsidy be provided to people who are likely to vote for you. It’s putting a heavy politician thumb on the scales of the electoral process.

    Exhibit B. Liccardo is pushing the U.N. supported “Vision Zero” to “get people out of their cars” and reduce traffic flow on San Jose streets.

    The U.S. pays hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund the U.N. The U.N., in turn, advances meddlesome and manipulative policies that it wants the U.S. taxpayer to fund, and that will chip away at the freedom of movement of American citizens in their own communities.


    Exhibit C: Unaccompanied minor children entering the United States ILLEGALLY are being shipped around the country and reportedly being placed in foster homes. Liccardo has expressed sympathy for these illegals. To what extent is he participating in the concealment and implementation of the policies of dispersing illegal immigrants throughout the U.S. . . . and housing them in San Jose? To what extent is he making the foster care situation in San Jose for the many children already here who need foster care?

    I never had much hope for Liccardo. To me, he was always the stereotype of the grinning, rubber chicken munching, baby kissing, show-boating, split the difference politician,

    Lesson learned.

    But, would Cortese have been any different or done anything differently?

    Sadly, California is a one-party political culture, and the price for living in a mostly benign climate is that the drones, the grifters, and meddlers are attracted by the climate, too. And the vote-seeking oligarchy makes it easier for them to live here than for me.

    • “Lesson learned”

      I’m sure a LOT of San Jose voters are saying the same thing. Problem is, it’s too late. He has been voted into office. The only correction that can be made is to vote him out when his term is up.

        • If there’s one thing I’ve learned about our local labor is, it’s a clique of candidates. Even if tomorrow Sam reversed measures V-B and W, labor would still be trying to oust him from office. (Look at all the mudslinging they’re doing towards Carrasco) In the end, it really wouldn’t matter.

  17. if Mayor Sam Liccardo was serious about a Safety Officer Memorial at the Police Station he could have used the money spent on that NYC trip that 13 High ranking City Officials took. Which included Yankees Baseball and Broadway tickets. WOW! And of course he thinks he has done a good job, who is standing up and telling him anything differently. No one, except here and these City Officials could care less about what the citizens of San Jose think. And this is just the tip of the ice berg. Just a continuum.

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