POLL: Grade San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s First Year in Office

Earlier today, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s office sent out an email blast posing the question: How did we do?

We’ve decided to take that question to readers, with a slight modification. The mayor is just one person in a much larger operation, but he’s the face of the franchise, so to speak.

So, how do you think he did?

Below is a poll and the mayor’s message in the email blast.

Dear Friends,

Happy holidays! Amid all of the celebrating, we are near the completion of our first year in office. It's time to assess our progress, and to take stock of opportunities to improve in the year ahead.

My first "State of the City" address in March focused on two key themes: improving public safety, and broadening economic opportunity. I am proud to say we've made significant progress along both of those broad ambitions:

  • We've stemmed the bleeding of police officers and other key employees from our ranks by settling disputes over pension reform with 10 of our employee unions. These agreements will generate $3 billion in savings over the next 30 years by reducing retiree healthcare and pension costs.
  • We've approved funding to aggressively recruit, hire and train new officers, nearly doubled the number of Community Service Officers (CSOs) to handle lower-priority calls, and added 14 firefighters to improve our emergency response.
  • We've invested in technology to make our officers more effective, such as upgrading computer systems in patrol cars, outfitting officers with body-worn cameras, creating a voluntary video camera registry, launching "Smart Pole" technology with new LED streetlights, and using data analytics software to better anticipate "hot spots" of crime. 
  • We've added more jobs than any large metro area in the U.S., with more than two dozen tech employers relocating or expanding in San Jose. We'll broaden access to those jobs for less educated residents with the successfullaunch of a manufacturing initiative and a related TechHire initiative. The announcement of four new international flights at our airport will expand hiring at restaurants, hotels, and other services in the year ahead. 
  • We're making strides against homelessness by buying two deteriorating motels that we'll restore for homeless housing, incentivizing landlords to accept homeless veterans with housing vouchers, and investing tens of millions of dollars in in new affordable housing construction.

Beyond any of these accomplishments, I'm also grateful to my Council colleagues and members of the City workforce for elevating the public discourse above the acrimony of years past. 

Of course, we have much more to do. I look forward to working with you in 2016 to make San Jose the city that engages our collective imagination, and inspires our civic work. Together, we are San Jose!


  1. Had to give him at least the “C” since he has had no where to go but up from the “D-” as a city council person………At least he has made the effort to try to fix most of the things they broke under Reed.

  2. Mayor Liccardo’s final grade will depend on the total number of police officers at the end of his first term. At this point Mayor Liccardo is getting an F as he still has not developed a plan for funding a fully staffed police department.

  3. Dear Sam,

    You are not telling the truth. SJPD continues to bleed officers at a breakneck rate, and is so severely understaffed it can’t adequately handle calls for service or investigate crimes. There are virtually no recruits. We will soon have half the amount of officers we had when the devil, aka Reed, took office. There has been NO updating of computer equipment in patrol cars, and it is the same antiquated system it was a year ago, 5 years ago, and 10 years ago. You may have created a registry of video cameras in the city, but absolutely no officer has any idea who keeps the database or where to access it. “Data analytics” is a joke, and has not prevented any crimes. The only data analytics that matter is the beat officer who knows his or her problem areas. You make statements which sound good but are not factual.

  4. Gets an “A+++” for lying … (1) the tide of officers leaving SJPD has not been “stemmed”. (2) Body warned cameras have been promised forever and are at least a year away from issue/deployment. (3) The New computers in cars are the same ones that were installed about 5 years ago and (4) some of the technology like mobile ID hand helds (a couple hundred units) are sitting unused be a use of “connectivity” issues and those few that are on the street work about 50%of the time.

    Otherwise he’s pretty benign .

  5. We’ve We’ve invested in technology to make our officers more effective, such as upgrading computer systems in patrol cars. This is a huge lie! The same broken system is still in place. One single major event, anywhere in the city, will cause the entire system to crash. Officers are unable to refresh GPS (to locate calls and other officers), the are unable to pull up pending calls, they are unable to transmit or receive messages from dispatch, they are unable to run stolen license plates and the list goes on…….. SAM could you please tell your “good friend” Eddie to fire the bean counters who choose the operating systems, and dump the slow broadband? Why does every other local dept function so much more smoothly than the one that claims “silicon valley” ? This is becoming a very serious issue. SAM you have a lot of nerve to compile this list of lies. Perhaps you need to fire the staffer that wrote it!

  6. As many have said, the tide of officers leaving has not been stemmed.. And until the city gets this alleged fix set in stone and enacted, the recruitment efforts will continue to suffer.

    The spin on this “investment” in technology for patrol cars is a joke. Maybe there was an investment to some R&D, but other than the 10 or so Explorer SUV’s with built in Wi-Fi, there is nothing new about the technology in the patrol cars.

    Data analytic software is a joke. I can predict where there’s going to be crime… I can tell you that during the day today, there will be numerous burglaries in Silver Creek. There will likely be an armed robbery on the east side, a stabbing Victim will probably walk into both RMC and VMC at some point during the day, and there will be at least 5-10 people across the city who will wake up to find their car was stolen overnight.

    I realize Sam has to put a spin on everything because its his job to make it look better, but the excerpts contained in this article show a severe lack of accountability. This nonsense with all of the unions and getting the “new deal” secured and enacted is taking wayyyyyy too long. Not to mention, the quality of officers being hired and allowed to pass Field Training is appalling, and the city will end up footing the bill in that respect if we can’t start attracting better applicants ASAP!

  7. Sam is long on rhetoric, short on accuracy and truth. He gets an A+ for spin and a D+ for results.

  8. Well, as a non-involved voter in San Jose local politics, I was willing to give Liccardo a “C” based on the theory that we’re not yet Argentina or Venezuela.

    But then, after reading his list of “accomplishments”, I changed his grade to a solid, robust, earned and deserved “F”.

    Just ponder:

    “We’re making strides against homelessness by buying two deteriorating motels that we’ll restore for homeless housing, incentivizing landlords to accept homeless veterans with housing vouchers, and investing tens of millions of dollars in in new affordable housing construction.”

    It’s not a real estate problem, dumbell.

    It’s not a veterans problem.

    It’s not a subsidy problem (“affordable housing”).

    It’s fundamentally an “ethos” and mental health problem. Political correctness prevents Liccardo from speaking the harsh and unpleasant truths needing to be spoken in order to BEGIN to address the problem.

    Smiling Sam wants to be liked. He doesn’t want to be mean.

    Smiling and being nice will NOT “solve ” the “homeless” problem.

    And ditto for the rest of his “accomplishments”.

    As former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger might say: “CROP!”

  9. If this is a serious assessment of how things have progressed under his tenure as Mayor, he is either a fool or a liar. Neither should be acceptable to those that have any skin in the game, which is everyone who lives, works or travels through our City. Because they are all potentially affected by this lack of progress and a police department that is a neutered shadow of its former self.

    Look at the poll numbers, most votes are a D or an F. Thats not a resounding vote of confidence Mr. Mayor. Something has to change and soon. We are running out of officers and viable, retainable recruits at an alarming rate. Soon we will be at half of the number of officers we once had just a few years ago. On January 15 or 16 we will lose another group of senior officers including the chief of police to retirements. A few more will resign and leave for other departments in the following weeks and months as well.

    As we go to work today, we have to fill APPROXIMATELY 230 pay cars over a 4 day, 40 hour work week. (That includes all three shifts, days, swings and mids) If you do the math, 230 pay cars a week, divided by 4, 10 hour work days, that equals almost 58 overtime pay cars per day and just over 19 pay cars per shift. Of which approximately 25% of those are not being filled, mostly on the mid night shift. That is not a sustainable working model..!! The officers, sergeants and lieutenants who are assigned to patrol, are working themselves into the ground and fatigue and lack of quality rest, WILL BECOME A MAJOR FACTOR. Poor decisions and tragic accidents WILL occur. Sadly, this number will increase in January due to the additional officers leaving. It probably won’t be much of a negative change, but the numbers are surely not going in the right direction.

    If the buck doesn’t stop with the Mayor, then where does it stop?

  10. Generous guy that I yam, I gave da Mayor a “D”. Being somewhat of a pessimist about these things, I figure he could always do worse. That’s scary, huh?

    I base my assessment entirely on what he’s done that’s good for the city as a whole, without rewarding pals, and special interest groups, and his fiscal irresponsibility, and many other things that misappropriate and re-direct tax money into the wrong pockets, like wasting money on the “homeless” who contribute exactly nothing to the city, and buying property for veterans (I’m a vet myself, but I know how these things work: a few cronies will get the few choice spots). And etc.

    But if he doesn’t start working more for the city and its residents, watch out next year! My “D” can always become an “F”. (As if that’s any kind of a threat; all the mayor is thinking about is either his re-election, or movin’ on up to Honda’s seat, etc. He could care less about an internet vote.)

  11. I give the Mayor and F-.
    It seems like 90% of the comments on here are from current SJPD employees, I however am not. Yes, there is all sorts of issues/complaints within PD but the rest of the City employees are also leaving in droves. Maybe it’s time to get rid of so much layers of management who abuse their staff and reevaluate if they are necessary. You have a lot of layers of management making up figures just to appease city Council. Employees have low moral and nothing has been done there either. They have had their pay cut and are expected to do more and managers who don’t know what they are doing or doing nothing at all.

    And intervention programs also help against crime. Unfortunately, the Community Coordinators in Parks and Recreation Department who are so valuable as liaisons between the City and the Community and Schools to assist with Gang Intervention are all being eliminated. They have assisted neighborhoods to clean up gang activity and get potential gang members into programs to help them find other things to do with their lives. Thanks Mario Maciel for ruining that department.

    Hope things get better.

    • Mario “The Mole” Maciel is indeed a major contributing factor to gang issues in this city… Although he’s part of Chuck’s old regime, Sam has neglected this aspect of the city and basically allowed it to dissolve, just as you’ve mentioned.

      • Mario has no oversight, I even think he is being paid as consultant in other cities like Long Beach, where it clearly says he was hired as a consultant if you google it. He also teaches a class at Santa Clara University during business hours, I would assume he is paid. How he manages to do side work on the City’s dime is beyond me.
        Every opportunity he gets he rips into his staff, even though they are the ones who rolled out the award winning programs to the community. He sure didn’t he doesn’t even go into that office. Per his words he doesn’t care how the city feels about loosing Community Coordinators because the Community doesn’t pay for this service? Last time I checked many of the people helped by this program work, long hours! They pay taxes.

        All Mario cares about is fudging numbers to keep higher ups happy at the expense of staff. He is good at being a slime ball politician and speaking to the media. Which he does any chance he gets to keep the spotlight on himself to make himself look important.

        The city needs to clean house and focus on management many of them are not even doing any work that directly effects Sam José. How can you when your consulting everywhere else?!

          • You’re forgiven. This is very interesting Carmen. Maybe NBC or SJI should look into this..

            All the while, I can tell you from first hand experience, the gang problem is getting no better. The major gangs are slowly growing in numbers, and the fringe affiliates/supporters are exploding. As these gangs become more advanced in tactics and their leadership passes down directives to prevent prosecution by law enforcement, they thrive. Not to mention, there are sparce resources available in the SJPD to deal with the issue outside of the most egregious and violent offenders.

  12. I gave the mayor an A but I was being a little generous.But only a little. Here’s why. First, focus. He’s been laser-focused on the kinds of development that lead to long-term solutions to our city funding problems. He doesn’t appear to have been too easily diverted by all the other issues that consume city staff, city council, and the mayor’s office. I think we could go issue by issue that has been before this council and grade him, from homelessness to Uber to police to environment and roads and we’ll see that he’s threaded a path between what’s possible and what’s ideal. He also hasn’t remained married to old solutions. He keeps looking for technological solutions and where technology is driving us in this valley. City government needs to transform as much as every other aspect of the society. Those who complain that things aren’t like they were in 2005 or 1995 should give up. They aren’t going to be like that.

    We’ve also put part of our divisive police issue behind us. Filling the ranks of the police is going to be a long-term challenge. I’m betting Liccardo will address it more directly as soon as he gets a little breathing room.

    • What are you smoking , that you think our public safety issues are behind us? You are correct in that its going to be a challenge in filling the ranks. Simply because SanJose went from “being the place to be ” to “being the place to be from”. Homelessness ,Jobs , those stupid green lanes that make traffic worse,his trouble with the truth,most city departments understaffed by at least 1/3 , it goes on and on . He gets a “D” at best

      • San Jose continues to grow. He’s offered some homelessness solutions. Not enough but the city has not been shy on the issue. The green lanes are very important to many residents in my neighborhood bordering downtown. I don’t think city staffing is coming back to what it was under any financial scenario I can see happening in the next few years. And, honestly, I’m frequently impressed with what people have accomplished. But yes we have an enormous problem hiring and retaining top-flight people. Has this mayor done something to make that worse in one year? I don’t think so.

        • His homeless solution made the situation worse. by moving the homeless from a centralized location to all over the city, with many new “tent citys”springing up. the green lanes cause the congested traffic to get even worse . Staffing for most city departments is NOT getting better , its getting worse . Our Public Safety is seriously understaffed . we are still losing valuable experience and getting nothing in return. lets NOT get it twisted , the only thing you can do with less , IS LESS . “Did he do something to make hiring and retaining top flight people worse ” . HELL YES !!! He along with Reed , Oliverio, Constant, Nguyen, Hererra created these problems . Open your eyes

    • Uber? That was a big (F)ail on Mr. Liccardo’s part when his fingerprinting pilot program flopped because none of the ridesharing companies participated. He should have listened to his friend Carl before wasting so much council and staff time.

      • It is $20 to get a taxi to take you from the Airport to Downtown San Jose……..Uber was needed as the Taxis were ripping off San Joseans

  13. I don’t much care about a guy that has never supported San Jose’s baseball team. That’s gotta be a Big F.
    The decision to squander all the city’s money and energy, to bring the A’s to town, has to be a Hugh F.
    Endorsing Ro Khanna, over Mike Honda, again is a Perfect F.
    Modi, from India, is the tip of Sam’s iceburg! Modi slammed San Jose for San Francisco. An HB-1 (F) for sure!
    His great smile, and his BS, has to be an A+.

    • Oh I see you prefer the proven corruption of Labor Hack Honda over significantly more ethical forward looking leadership….Cant wait till we get beyond Honda and his embarassments in 2016

  14. In 2013, we approached Sam Liccardo about San Jose Police Department not having a credible elder abuse policy. SJPD’s duty manual was so behind the times that it instructed officers to investigate elder abuse using the child abuse protocol. There was no recognition of the rights or financial interests of adults.

    When we reported serious elder abuse at assisted living facility Villa Fontana, SJPD completely dropped the ball. We went all the way to the Chief. But he seemed oblivious to the needs of vulnerable elders who are at the mercy of staff in care facilities.

    We engaged the Civil Grand Jury to investigate the deficient policy, and their report was quite unfavorable toward SJPD. Mayor Liccardo added the authority of his office to encourage SJPD to develop a much improved policy. The resulting document is one of the best in the nation.

    Kudos to Mayor Liccardo for taking a position on elder rights and elder justice! I give him a B+ for getting the job done well, but very slowly.

  15. I see that Mayor Liccardo left out an item that he spear-headed in City Council, and that was to reject the Governor’s guideline for our area of saving 20% in this year’s water use compared to use in 2013. The SJMN failed to mention his rolling over for both the Santa Clara County Water District and the SJ Water Company by insisting on a local goal of 30% savings. Yes, he and the entire City Council took drastic action to support a shift of the burden to homeowners.

    He has never explained to the public why he sought a 30% reduction instead of the Governor’s proposal of 20% for us, but the real reason has to be his very, very close relationship with the Government Relations guy at the Santa Clara County Water District and to put a cushion in place for the San Jose Water Company’s safety from having to pay fines.

    Had the reduction goal been set at 20%, the outcome could have been a small fine for the SJ Water Company during one or two months, but by setting the goal at 30%, he did a huge favor for the SJ Water Company and a big slap for San Jose’s home owners by requiring more sacrifice than needed in order to save SJ Water Company from any work or worry at all.

    • Thanks, Davide. I think the 30 percent goal for water reduction was farsighted. We could be asked to make even larger reductions in the year ahead. We in the west need to get our heads out of the sand and start being conservative with water now so our grandchildren can enjoy a good life in California.

      • Not addressing the appropriate level of reduction, just making an indirect appeal not to sock it all to the homeowners and a direct appeal to ensure Liccardo’s role in this sneaky maneuver is not lost to view.

      • > I think the 30 percent goal for water reduction was farsighted.

        Negative and pessimistic. Narrow minded and backward.

        A real leader would have created a plan to INCREASE water supply by two hundred percent,

        San Jose needs a new era of increased prosperity, not regressive scarcity.

        Scarcity just hurts the people that the deceitful, dissembling “progressives” claim that the care about the most.

  16. If you have an opinion, voice it, but have the courage to use your real name and not hide behind a pseudonym. I don’t waste my time on those, good, bad or indifferent.

    • There are a lot of people that would be targeted when they speak the truth. Sorry you cannot grasp such a thing in this corrupt town…

    • Mr. Vieira,

      I’m sure you are a nice man, if perhaps a bit naive regarding the anonymity issue. (that’s not a put down) but don’t take my word for it:

      “…groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize the oppressive practices
      and laws either anonymously or not at all… It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most
      constructive purposes.”

      Justice Hugo L. Black
      Source: Tally v. California, 1960

      • You’re absolutely right on the need for anonymous communications options. In defense of Mr. Vieira’a position though, I think it’s fairly obvious that comment boards related to San Jose (Mercury News, San Jose Inside, etc.) are overrun by people who have an unending enmity toward Chuck Reed, Sam Liccardo and any politician perceived as an ally of them. And, sometimes, the source of those people’s opinions or biases would be clearer if their affiliations were known.

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