San Jose City Council Talks Sustainable Building, Clean Energy, Homeless Housing

As San Jose hammers out a spending plan for a $650 million disaster preparedness, public safety and infrastructure bond, Sam Liccardo wants to earmark some of the money to fund sustainable buildings.

In a proposal that garnered support from City Council members Dev Davis, Raul Peralez, Lan Diep and Johnny Khamis, the mayor suggests allocating Measure T funds for San Jose’s carbon-reduction plan.

A year ago, councilors adopted the Climate Smart San Jose plan to align with the Paris agreement after President Donald Trump pulled out of the global pact. The city’s version laid out an ambitious goal: to reduce carbon emissions by 6.5 percent year-over-year through 2050. To meet that benchmark, the city aims to incentivize zero-net-carbon buildings, which would rely entirely on solar or wind—what’s offered on the nascent San Jose Clean Energy system (SJCE).

“Understanding how we can continue to build and retrofit our municipal facilities to a higher standard will play an important role in meeting our ‘Climate Smart’ goals, and staff should return with an analysis of best practices for sustainable design and construction,” Liccardo, Khamis, Peralez, Diep and Davis state in a shared memo.

Clean Energy

In 2018, the city launched its community choice energy system SJCE, a plan that allows residents to buy energy from clean sources, as an alternative to utility companies like PG&E. The plan allowed residents to either buy their electricity from city-funded clean energy sources, or to stick with their current PG&E plan, all at competitive prices.

On Tuesday, the council will consider authorizing city officials in charge of SJCE to negotiate with the California Independent System Operator, the regulating body for California’s mass electric grid. An agreement with the state regulator would allow SJCE to operate similarly to other utility companies like PG&E.

Homelessness Prevention

Also on Tuesday’s docket is a proposed plan to spend $125,000 in grant money from the federal government for homelessness prevention services. The funds were originally granted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2017 for a series of homeless housing programs and an AIDS-related housing project.

Some $440,000 of the original round of funding went to the Bill Wilson Center, a nonprofit that shelters homeless and runaway children and young adults. However, changes in Santa Clara County’s re-housing program didn’t allow the center enough time to spend $125,000 of its grant money before the end of the last fiscal year. As a result, the funds must be reallocated by the city to avoid losing the money to the feds.

Tuesday’s proposal will try to hash out an action plan for the remaining money to create a new program with Bill Wilson to focus on both family and youth. That includes using the funds to provide for about 20 homeless individuals or families.

More from the San Jose City council agenda for February 12, 2019:

  • The city manager has released his 2018-19 mid-year budget review, which details how city funds were spent since the beginning of the fiscal year and what needs to be adjusted.
  • TechCU and the city have prepared an agreement to offer workers at Mineta San Jose International Airport no-interest loans if a second government shutdown occurs should Congress fail to pass a budget by Friday. A proposal was approved last month, but Congress and President Donald Trump agreed to re-open the government the following day. Should this week’s deadline pass without an agreed-upone federal budget, the city and TechCU will offer loans to affected airport workers.
  • The city will proclaim February 2019 as Dental Health Awareness Month
  • The city will present Patricia Gardner, head of the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, with a commendation for her work in the field.
  • The city will refund $680,000 to Westfield, owner of Westfield Valley Fair mall. Westfield was charged over $1 million in taxes for construction on a new retail building, an apparent miscalculation on the city’s part.
  • The council will vote on naming the BART station in Little Portugal 28th Street/Little Portugal.
  • Devaney Engineering has been chosen to perform significant sewage repairs in District 1.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260


  1. The San Jose City Council already uses solar and wind power every time they blow sunshine up the buttocks of the taxpayers.

    Save the money and the misrepresentations and put all of your efforts into lowering taxes and getting rid of rent control.

    David S. Wall

  2. >> Tuesday’s proposal will try to hash out an action plan for the remaining money to create a new program with Bill Wilson to focus on both family and youth. That includes using the funds to provide for about 20 homeless individuals or families. <<

    Here is my action plan.

    Can't afford to live here then MOVE.

    We are never going to solve this homeless problem but just keep spending more money on it.

  3. If San Jose keeps throwing money into the sky, it will reduce global warming by blocking sunlight during summer. In the winter, the floating bills will shelter people on the street from the rain. Science!

    Therefore, we must continue throwing money in the air as it directly combats both climate change and homelessness.

  4. If you want to reduce your carbon foot print, stop buying stuff from China and India, they produce way more CO2 as they are unregulated by the Paris Accord and we were stupid idiots for ever signing on to it . Trump Was Right!

  5. “Incentivize” is always an amusing concept.

    But they never seem to incentivize taxpayers, do they?

    Solar and wind both emit “carbon,” whether they’re manufactured in China or Mexico. But the atmosphere is ‘fungible’ as they say, so we get Chinese air but without the benefit of fly ash scrubbers…

    This debate sounds religious, with True Believers scaring themselves over a teeny-tiny trace gas, measured in parts per million. CO2 is absolutely essential to all life on earth, and it’s been up to 15X higher in the geologic past, for millions of years. During those pre-gluten, high CO2 times the planet teemed with abundant life.

    But really, how can rational folks debate this nonsense? Is it even possible?

    Let’s at least try:

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen by 40%+ over the past century. According to the “dangerous man-made global warming” hypothesis, that rise should have caused global T to rise by ≈2ºC.

    But that hasn’t happened. In fact, temperatures in the 1930’s were higher than they are now. So the 40% rise in CO2 has not caused the predicted global warming.

    In science, a hypothesis is tested by the accuracy of its predictions. If it can reliably predict, the hypothesis may even be lifted to the status of a theory.

    But when predictions made by an hypothesis are flat wrong, then that Hypothesis has been FALSIFIED.

    That means the scientists who made the prediction(s) must either go back to the drawing board to try and figure out why their hypothesis was wrong, and then re-write it. Or most likely, if their hypothesis was as decisively falsified as the CO2 = AGW hypothesis, they just defenestrate it.

    Either way adds to our scientific knowledge – and falsifying an hypothesis probably adds as much to our knowledge base as a correct hypothesis, since rejecting it eliminates the need to go barking up the same tree again.

    But science by government edict works differently. When the government’s pet hypothesis is falsified, that just means they will ratchet up their false alarm even higher.

    But why?

    Glad you asked! The answer is because they crave a carbon tax.

    That would add a tax at every step of production. The manufacture of goods (as in widgets or windmills) would be taxed at each step instead of at the finished, wholesaled product. Sevices would be taxed too, when the widgets are transported. And who ever heard of electeds lowering a tax?

    Since just about everything that is made or that moves emits CO2, a carbon tax would bring the government an immense flow of new revenues. By some estimates a carbon tax would bring in more revenue than all other taxes combined. For federal electeds and their drones a carbon tax is ecstasy – doubled and squared. They want it bad.

    But what about the rest of us?

    Here’s what:

    The average working stiff’s income would remain the same — but with the cost of goods and gasoline skyrocketing, our standard of living would necessarily plummet.

    The carbon tax hasn’t passed because Congresscritters don’t want to be blamed for the voters’ cratering standard of living.

    But where there’s a will there’s a way, and the bureaucrats and their pet electeds still have dollar signs in their eyes…

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