San Jose Talks Climate Change, Surveillance, Litter and Pensions at Tuesday’s Council Meeting

Since launching its climate action plan eight months ago, San Jose has created its own clean energy system, given residents 400 energy-efficient light bulbs, held at least 15 outreach events and won a $2.5 million grant to help reduce its carbon footprint.

The City Council on Tuesday will hear a progress report on “Climate Smart San Jose,” a Paris Agreement-aligned action plan adopted after President Trump pulled out of the international pact this past year.

Climate Smart San Jose is led by the city’s Environmental Services Department and a working group comprising managers from nine other departments. So far, the plan mostly involves drumming up community involvement and securing enough funding to achieve its long-term goals.

In June, the city won a $325,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to reduce emissions from existing buildings through a mix of incentives and training. And just this month, San Jose was accepted into a two-year Bloomberg Philanthropies program that gives the city $2.5 million to promote sustainable transportation and phase out of using fossil fuels in buildings.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will give San Jose and 19 other cities support and training to help it implement its climate action plan. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told the Mercury News earlier this month that he wants to use the fund’s resources to start an electric car pilot program for people who can’t necessarily afford Teslas and to urge property owners to reduce energy consumption at commercial and apartment buildings.

“The American Cities Climate Challenge program is designed to support cities in making meaningful progress on their climate goals in the near term, and San Jose will focus on transportation mode shift, vehicle electrification, energy efficiency and the elimination of natural gas,” San Jose Environmental Services Director Kerrie Romanow said of the Bloomberg grant in a memo to the council.

The program is organized around three kinds of initiatives, she said: foundational, ambitious and moonshot. Foundational practices include things like energy-efficiency retrofits on city buildings, electric car charging stations on public parking lots, energy code enforcement, public transit upgrades and commuter incentives.

Ambitious actions include introducing new mobility options such as bike-sharing and electric scooters, while moonshot goals entail “next-generation,” “high-impact” actions such as tracking and curbing energy consumption in the private sector.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for October 30. 2018:

  • San Jose’s anti-litter and anti-graffiti programs upped the number of volunteers by 6,000 from 2016 to 19,000 people this year. It also doubled the number of litter cleanup events to 600 and boosted volunteer hours by 3,000 to 50,000 in the same timeframe, according to a report going before the council.
  • The city will consider awarding a $6.2 million contract to Van Nuys-based Sentry Control Systems to operate its parking lot access and revenue control systems, which include a license plate scanner. To comply with state law, the city’s Department of Transportation will also need to come up with a policy to ensure that the plate reader isn’t used to monitor First Amendment-protected activities.
  • The city is trying to fill vacancies on the two boards that oversee its retirement plans. Gresham Partners managing partner Anurag Chandra, Geneva Advisors portfolio manager Eswar Menon and former Silicon Valley Community Foundation investments director Elaine Orr applied for positions on the Federated City Employees’ Retirement Plan. Self-employed investor Vikas Oswal and Ponte Partners managing partner Ghia Griarte are up for consideration for the Police and Fire board.

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

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


  1. > San Jose Talks Climate Change, Surveillance, Litter and Pensions at Tuesday’s Council Meeting

    Has there ever been an actual “debate” on global warming, or climate change, or the integrity of climate science?

    The reason that there is so much doubt and skepticism about global warming is that there has NEVER been a real debate.

    “Global warming” has been a political strategy from the very beginning and the “science” underlying global warming has been cherry-picked, misrepresented, or in numerous cases just outright fabricated.

    If the San Jose City Council really cared about legitimate “climate policy”, they should START by referencing and documenting the legitimate DEBATES and CONCLUSIONS that have occurred that have brought us to they point that they are required to craft and implement a CITY OF SAN JOSE CLIMATE POLICY.

  2. Thanks to our unrelenting crusade to build high density housing, San Jose’s carbon footprint is twice as big as it would otherwise be.

    • Actually, high density housing is good for the environment. The dentist city in America, New York City, has the smallest carbon footprint out of any American city. Sure, construction releases some green house gases, but it’s not nearly as bad as the amount of CO2 emitted by the cars all those people would use. High density housing allows for a good public transit system that is clean and for environments that are walkable that reduce the need for transportation vehicles

      • > The dentist city in America, New York City, has the smallest carbon footprint out of any American city.

        Could you two take your fight out to the parking lot.

        I actually don’t care about carbon footprints.

        The earth has had much higher levels of carbon dioxide in the past. Plus, the oceans absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into seashells.

        God thought about this and provided a solution. Al Gore didn’t need to get all worked up.

      • Twice the number of people = twice the number of greenhouse gas producers.
        Remember. Think globally but act locally.

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