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Why Sheriff Smith Won’t Run for Mayor

We dream of the perfect candidate in our business. The right person, at the right time, with resources to win and the perfect fit for the populace and the times. Barack Obama in President 2008, Jerry Brown Governor in 2010, Willie Brown for San Francisco Mayor 1995, and Sheriff Laurie Smith for San Jose Mayor 2014. Only the last scenario won’t happen.

Kalra: My Time at the DNC

San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra has been in Charlotte, N.C., all week as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. The following is a recap of his first three days at the Convention. President Obama will deliver his DNC speech tonight, and Kalra has agreed to write an additional column for San Jose Inside on Friday.—Editor

My journey to Charlotte began at Mineta San Jose International Airport on Sunday morning. During my tenure on the City Council I have found it difficult to leave the city for extended periods of time. In fact, this week in Charlotte will be my longest time away from San Jose during my entire time in office. Thankfully, there was no council meeting this week due to the short week following Labor Day. And since residents are rightfully concerned about how taxpayer dollars are spent, you should know that I’m personally paying for this trip—I am not using any city funds or special interest contributions.

Patent Office Shows How Private-Public Partnerships Can Work

A U.S. patent office will open in San Jose. This is the result of diverse political interests uniting in a shared goal. It is a victory for San Jose and the region, and it will help Silicon Valley businesses, which are the heart of our nation’s economic engine. But considering California accounts for 25 percent of all new patents—with half of those coming from Silicon Valley—why wouldn’t San Jose be chosen? Let’s do the political math.

Reed, Former San Jose Mayors Talk Shop

Norm Mineta, Janet Gray Hayes, Susan Hammer, Ron Gonzales and Reed all took part in Monday night’s installment of the Don Edwards Lecture Series at San Jose State University, and each of the current mayor’s predecessors voiced relief that never in their tenures were they forced to deal with the current mayor’s challenges. A full decade of budget shortfalls, a workforce depleted and demoralized, the loss of the Redevelopment Agency and no certain economic rebound in the future was a tall order in every mayor’s eyes. The never-ending pummeling a mayor experiences—from the press, constituents and colleagues—was reiterated consistently in the talk, which retiring SJSU political science professor Terry Christensen moderated.

BART Line Set to Break Ground Today

The long-awaited work to extend BART from Fremont to Berryessa begins today with a groundbreaking ceremony featuring many of Silicon Valley’s most prominent political officials. The event has been a long time coming, and shovels should enter the ground this afternoon.

Liccardo a Favorite for Mayor in 2014

Metro Silicon Valley’s issue this week looks at possible candidates to succeed Mayor Chuck Reed when he terms out in less than two years. Invariably, in every discussion, two names pop up: San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. Below is an excerpt focusing on Liccardo’s upbringing, what made him go into politics, and his interest in running for mayor in 2014.—Editor

The All-Volunteer City Government

Recently, a SJI columnist who also is a city councilmember suggested that libraries should be staffed with volunteers to avoid closure and increase hours of operation. I applaud this outside the box type of thinking, but why stop at libraries?

San Jose’s General Plan Update Task Force

City Hall Diary

One issue that everyone who is paying attention to San Jose politics agrees with is that the City of San Jose’s General Plan is outdated and is in need of revamping. 

At the August 7 city council meeting, all of Mayor Reed’s recommendations for the General Plan Update Task Force (which included Councilmembers Liccardo and Chirco and me) were supported by the council. The task force is a diverse group of people representing environmentalists, developers, unions and community members, among others.


The writer John Reed once said, rather infamously, “I have seen the future and it works.”  Fortunately, he was not correct about his prediction.  In San Jose, though, I think we are able to say that the future now has a very good chance to work. I saw it last night.  The victory of Chuck Reed was a remarkable achievement against the forces of the Democratic establishment who had Bill Clinton in the van, a two to one edge in money, and everyone from the dog catcher to Kofi Annan in Chavez’s corner. Reed absorbed all the hits and kept going. 

Many Share Blame for Abetting What S.J. Mayor has Wrought

(Editor’s Note: We are reprinting Tom McEnery’s piece that appeared in the Mercury News this past Sunday, July 2, in order to give our readers a chance to comment on it.)

The decision is in, conclusively. This mayor’s tenure has been a total failure and a badly flawed one. The human tragedy is sad; the public one, palpably painful. Remember the words of another official about another very public tragedy, a national one: “There is a cancer on the presidency.” This has been true of the mayor’s office for some time now. It has left an indelible stain on City Hall.

A Bond

A few weeks ago I wrote that the current people at City Hall could not tell the difference between telling the truth and not getting caught in a lie.  I wonder what was going on in their minds as they savaged the grand jury’s report. Did they not know what they were risking?

The Right Name, The Right Time

Today, County Supervisors will name the County Government Center’s courtyard after Jim McEntee. (link)  It’s an appropriate tribute to a great person. 

The Mayor’s Race

Will Los Angeles elect a mayor whose name will be regularly misspelled by school kids, news reporters, and, heaven forbid, bloggers?  Antonio Villaraigosa—yes, correct spelling—could become California’s most notable Latino politician in May.  For a sense of his challenge, let’s jump in our blogospheric time machine and go back to San Jose, 1998.