San José Mayor Matt Mahan today announced the creation of five “Transition Committees” to identify ”new approaches to solving our most significant challenges” that he will use to build support for his budget proposals before submitting a budget to the council in March.
Each committee includes community members, council members and city staff, according to the mayor’s announcement. The challenges match the themes of Mahan’s campaign.
They will focus on five “key opportunities for improvement” in ways the city addresses the challenges of 1) homelessness, 2)community safety, 3)clean neighborhoods, 4)downtown vibrancy, and 5)planning and permitting.
Mahan said he aims “to utilize direct community and colleague input from the Transition Committees to create a more focused, better informed, and more accountable March Budget message.”
“Our transition committees are breaking from the status quo and trying something new by bringing folks from across the city together early in the budget planning process to recommend success metrics and aligned investments,” said Mahan. “This is the foundation of a more accountable budgeting process and the best way to bring the city together to solve problems after a long election season.”
Jim Reed, the mayor's chief of staff, said today that the meetings of the transition committees will not be open to the public, but said their reports and recommendations to the council will be. He said the committees are on a fast track and expects them to exist about eight weeks, long enough to report to the council as it begins its budget process.
Mahan said he is committed to collaborating with council members and city staff “to focus more time and resources on programs and policies that will move the needle on the city’s biggest challenges and opportunities, from homelessness to economic development.”
“These Transition Committees will help cut through the noise and deliberately focus on what our residents want and need to continue to take pride in San José,” Mahan said in a statement. Each committee will be tasked with identifying up to five success metrics to help the city track its performance in each priority area, he said.
Mahan’s approach was endorsed by City Manager Jennifer Maguire.
“I look forward to this collaborative effort with our mayor, City Council, and community,” said Maguire in a statement released with the mayor’s announcement.. “With basic services generally addressed, residents are now asking government to turn our attention to much more difficult problems – really wicked challenges.”
“Traditional approaches, frameworks and measurements aren’t usually sufficient for the big challenges, especially ones that affect lives and livelihoods,” she said. “I believe, as does our Mayor and City Council, that government needs to focus more on these challenges and that they should be on the forefront of our agenda as they present the biggest opportunities for the city to address.”
These are the five Transition Committees and their appointed leaders:
- Reduce unsheltered homelessness
- Mitigate impacts of encampments on local communities
- Chair: Councilmember Foley Vice Chair: Councilmember Cohen Community Chair: David Pandori, retired Deputy District Attorney and former City Councilmember Administration Lead: Omar Passons, Deputy City Manager
- Increase pedestrian and traffic safety
- Reduce street-level crime and improve the felt experience of safety for residents and small businesses
- Co-Chair: Councilmember Rosemary Kamei, Co-Chair: Councilmember Bien Doan; Community Chair: Gabrielle Antolovich, President of the Billy DeFrank Center; Administration Lead: Leland Wilcox, Assistant City Manager
- Support city beautification by mitigating and diminishing: vehicle blight, graffiti, trash in public spaces, illegal dumping, code violations, weeds, and overgrowth
- Chair: Councilmember Peter Ortiz; Community Chair: Helen Brock, Founder, Beautify Almaden; Administration Lead: Andrea Flores Shelton, Deputy Director, Community Services Division of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services
- Catalyze momentum for downtown to become a destination for residents and investment
- Chair: Councilmember Omar Torres; Community Chair: Gary Dillabough, Co-founder and CEO, Urban Community; Administration Lead: Nanci Klein, Director, Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs
Planning and Permitting
- Improve the ease, speed and efficacy with which businesses can engage with San José
- Co-chair: Councilmember Dev Davis, Co-chair: Councilmember Sergio Jimenez; Community Chair: Ted McMahon, Chief Investment Officer, Bayview Development Group Inc. ; Administration Lead: Rosalynn Hughey, Deputy City Manager
During the week of Feb.13, the council chairs and administration leads will share their recommendations of concrete, actionable steps that can be taken to work on areas of concern. During the week of Feb. 20, city staff will present to the council a limited set of priority focus areas, outcomes, initiatives and success metrics.