City Council to Discuss Selling Properties

The City Council’s agenda has few items to discuss Tuesday, but there is an item pertaining to an annual Greek flag raising ceremony, which could always spiral out of control. Other issues on the agenda include a labor negotiations update, an application for strategic growth grants and the likely approval of streamlining the process to sell the city’s surplus real estate properties.

An item about raising the medical marijuana tax on collectives from 7 to 10 percent has been deferred to the Feb. 14 meeting.

According to a memo prepared Jan. 9 by Kim Walesh, director of Economic Development, the city owns 1,073 parcels of real estate. Of that amount, a little more than half (565) are city-operated facilities that include “parks, trails, libraries, firestations, City Hall, Community Centers, landfills, and parking structures.” Some city properties cannot be sold by law, but “even with the above constraints,” the memo says, “the city’s portfolio of properties that could be sold is estimated in the range of $65M-$69M.”

Vacant land and structures owned by the city total 158 parcels, while there are 274 miscellaneous parcels, some of which were left over from street widening projects.

In staff’s analysis, the current process to sell properties is too slow. Certain tasks are carried out in corresponding order when they could be carried out concurrently, staff suggests. The analysis also recommends delegating authority to City Manager Debra Figone on the sale of any properties valued at less than $500,000.

Click Here to Read the City Council Agenda for February 7, 2012.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. City had a bunch of property to give to the A’s!  The city has a 92 MILLION vacant police building.  Closed libraries.

    Josh, since your into publishing retiree’s salary packages, how about publishing these parcels of property so he can help the city before they make another bad decision.

    • I guess Chuck wants to have a fire sale because he is now pondering laying off 400, yup your reading it right, 400 police officers and an additional 150 fire fighters.

      According to Chuck,  “Boosting productivity per officer would allow further staff cuts, says an analysis Reed requested from IBM “.  Wow a computer telling us how to deploy officers.  Can the computer predict crimes and fires like the TV show.

      Funny how this comes out the exact same time the city is in mediation with the Union over pension reform.

      How do you boost productivity when you don’t have any officers?  Wonder just how much Chuck paid for this study.

      • I guess a computer or some person at a Monitor can put out a fire, respond to a vehicle accident , take care of the injured and the sick, or respond to a robbery in progress,a homicide,a kidnapping. This Mayor knows nothing of Running this City (except running it into the ground) He knows even less about public safety! You know what he does know ? He knows how to lie to voters, he knows how to make Dedicated City employees look like Villains, He knows how to vote in every benefit that city employees have, he knows how to deny ,deny, deny. he knows how to double dip by being on the RDA Board, The Diridon Developement Agency, The Financing Authority….without ever letting city residents know of his multiple positions within city government, he knows how to give away valuable real estate to a Billionaire friend,he really knows how to help his developer buddies, he knows damn well that after office …. he will be quietly double dipping. He knows how to run experienced and valuable employees running to other citys ,  He knows how to destroy this once promising city

      • This is not about selling city properties to turn a few bucks.  This is not about pension reform or fiscal emergency.  Tally up all the properties and show us the net worth.

        This is all about Mayor Reed’s true hatred for public safety.  He could care less how many have been injured on the job or killed in the line of duty.  This is about his legacy and future government employment.

        What he is doing is sticking a middle finger to all unions and saying I will bury you in my final term.  Thank you cowards on the council, you too Deb for not standing up for what is right.  I thought you were THE city MANAGER, And thank you puppet chief of police to make your assist chief to have to comment.  Where are you (WASHINGTON) when your department is about to be crushed.

        Yes, you will take the money and run.  You are in way over your head!

  2. Are they going to be sold at market value , or given away for ” pennies on the dollar” ? Is this to help the city of San Jose or for the Mayor to help out his developer buddies( McEnery,Swensen,Sobrato,Wolfe, etc) ? People keep an eye on the shell game about to be played

  3. The city should have an audit of all properties sold since 1990.  To whom sold, how sold, and the City Enhancements when sold.  Then to add to the dirty laundry we need to see the properties bought by the city since 1990.  When you compare the purchase price, to the sold back to the city price, it adds up to WHO?  No member of City Council, Mayors office City Mgrs officer should be allowed EVER to lobby with the City of San Jose.  This includes any and all business associated with these people.

    • Funny How True,

      One of the interesting points about San Jose’s history was during the great “DUTCH HAMMOND ANNEXING PHASE”

      It was rumored Dutch would buy properties in the unincorporated borders of the then growing San Jose.  A few months after purchasing, those properties would be annexed into San Jose, skyrocketing their values. 

      We now see the same thing going on, albeit a little different.  Sure the annexing is gone, but it was replaced by council favors to certain folks.  Letting them use the RDA money as a slush fund for their pet projects.

      • Hey Robert,
            looks like the boy from Saratoga will be the clear winner for (MAYOR)choice by the Developers of SJ.  Hey we should make a new club.  Voted best by the valley developers.

  4. Uh-oh, the fox is in charge of the hen house?!  I trust our benighted council members, mayor and city manager about as much as I trust used car salesmen.  Actually, I think the salesmen have superior moral and ethical standards! 

    The dark and mysterious city government processes should be unveiled and above board, with independent appraisers (NOT SJ employees!) identifying fair market value of each parcel.  Following the sale, those values, the sales prices and the buyers of record should be published on the SJ City website.

  5. One property that caught my eye and really pisses me off that the city sold is a parcel at the corner of Almaden Expwy. and Coleman Ave. right next to the Water District headquarters and equipment yard. The property is right at the confluence of Guadalupe Creek and Alamitos Creek. Nice creekside property purchased by the erstwhile responsible and sane City back in the ‘70s, set aside, and probably envisioned as public open space now has been sold by our current special-interest-driven excuse of a city government to developers, and our view of and access to the creeks will be permanently blocked because there’ll be 20 f***ing ‘affordable’ houses in the way.
    And what did the City do with all the money from the sale of this land- the peoples’ land? Bought other land downtown to give to billionaire Lew Wolff.

  6. Sad to say we are the 1% trying to change the once great city of San Jose.  The rest just go about wondering if the city city council will make good decisions and if they put a ballot measure it must be good for the betterment of all. 

    Boy this cool-aid tastes good.  We love you Chuck , Deb, PO, Pete Constant ( a true double dipper) and the rest of the clowns (not all) on the council.

    Thanks for bringing our city to it’s lowest ever!

  7. Just a thought – why not hold a public auction of the properties?  Hire a reputable firm to conduct the process from beginning to end… no SJ staff monkey business!

  8. Council does not have RDA and city money to give away to their eveloper or political cnonies so now the will be giving away city property at below market prices with Mis-Manager Figone handing out deals for Mayor, Council and her cronies

    More San Jose Crony Capitalist, Legal bribery and political insider Public – Private partnerships

  9. How long do the votes sit back and watch these scams before we start to tar and feather these greedy *&&*^^%*ds.  Of course just as the housing projections are to improve the City wants to dump off some land to let me guess some billionaire and fire sale prices. Of course they will make millions and make nice donations to Chuck and company! the voters will sit scratching their heads wondering how did this happen and why does not a single law enforcement agency look into these matters. 
      Now Chuck is picking the new canidates for city council seems if you do not vote chucks way he will replace you with one of his cops. With the promise of fame and fortune even that blue line can be broken. chuck plays that cops like puppets, take aways, making the POA president step down, and now making a detective run for office to replace a council memeber who has been a thorn in his side.
      The New slogan for San Jose should be Chucks way or the Highway. with Chuck the bucks go into his pocket.

  10. Please show the facts, when you post articles.  Are you just trying to get a few angry?  Lets make this sight important to all and not just a reason to blow smoke.

    Same for PO, and Rich!  Seems like a post to just piss off a few.  We know the Mercury News will never print any of these comments.

    Lets make this post a real reason to change the culture to SJ living conditions.

    It is time to stand up against for this illegal Mayor!

  11. Read the city agenda is a joke! No real issues printed in detail! Again just a waste of time because we all know the decisions have already been made behind closed doors.  Which is illegal!

    Pete Constant knows better as all on the Council know these issues are pre-determined before the council listens to voters.  Otherwise they would not bring the issue to a vote.  When Chuck does not get his way, it becomes a ballot measure!

    My God, this council like others violate the law, having already getting enough votes to pass what ever they damn well please.

  12. If you truly believe and or have evidence of City Officials committing illegal acts do the right thing and report it to one or more of the below agencies. 

    Venting anger and frustration anonymously on a public forum does absolutely nothing to correct this matter and for all intents and purposes fall largely on deaf ears.

    Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office
    Public Integrity Unit
    70 W. Hedding St., West Wing
    San Jose, CA 95110
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: (408) 792-2595

    CA Department of Justice
    4949 Broadway
    Sacramento, CA 95817
    (916) 263-4887

    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Public Corruption
    450 Golden Gate Avenue, 13th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94102-9523
    Phone: (415) 553-7400
    Fax: (415) 553-7674
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Corruption Hotline
    (800) 376-5991

  13. How come all of the mess that they do is just allowed to get by without any body making a stink and getting it investigated? You can harp all day long about all they are doing, but until you get someone involved who can investigate it and hold those accountable who should be held accountable, then nothing is going to happen…just more talk and more harp and they will continue to get away with it. Chuck Reed will leave his office with his middle finger up and a grin on his face. Not really, but you get the drift.

    • Maybe because online posturing and venting without tangible evidence to substantiate illegal acts is not sufficient to initiate an investigation.

      Frankly reading post either couched or blatant with allegations and innuendos is getting old and in all likelihood not receiving the intended outcome.

      If you have information to warrant an investigation step up and present it to proper authorities or even non local media.

    • You could contact these reporters to get the ball rolling or point you in the right direction.

      Los Angeles Times reporters Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb were awarded the “Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting” for the expose of the Bell scandal, ‘Breach of Faith’. The Award, presented by the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, the prize is worth $35,000. On April 18, 2011, it was announced that the L.A. Times had won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service reporting on breaking the Bell scandal.,0,3058915.htmlstory

      How to Contact the Los Angeles Times
      E-mail address format: [email protected]
      Mailing address: (Employee Name)
      (Department Name)
      Los Angeles Times
      202 W. 1st St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

  14. Mercury News – “Tainted City Land Sales, Stolen Taxes” 

    is a Mercury news article that San Jose taxpayers and residents will NEVER see published although there is more than sufficient proof that Council and City Manager are not conducting city property sales in the open transparent manner as promised by Mayor Reed  

    Maybe another newspaper, magazine or public policy investivative will be interested in a Pulitzer Prize investigative news story

    Council members have promised political insiders and campaign contributors individual city properties

    Potential well financed city property buyers who have contacted Council members or city staff have been told that the city property they are interested are not available to them or has already committed to insiders months or more ago

    Where is the open transparent city process where everyone who is qualified has an opportunity to bid in a city public auction conducted by an outside property auction company to get the most money from selling taxpayer owned city property

    Listen carefully to Council and city staff excuses, reasons and explanations of why city can not conduct a public auction and why Council members are privately meeting with and promising city property to insiders

    ” San Jose :  The Crony Capitalism Capital of Silicon Valley ” using your tax dollars to elect public officials and enrich insiders

    Many believe public officials that take campaign contributions or expect future contributions, business opportunities or financial benefits where there is a clear contributor expectation to receiving public taxes, favorable public official decisions, public tax grants or under market city or state property is unethical

    Under current California law it is ” legal political bribery ” with taxpayers losing millions / billion taxes each year to political insiders, contributors and unethical politicians insider back room deals

    San Jose is the poster example of Tainted City Land Sales, Stolen Taxes

  15. This blog mentioned some time ago, that the County placed liens upon several City-owned properties for monies RDA/City owed them.  (I had asked which properties these were, but never received an answer from PO.)  How would these types of encumbrances affect the Council’s actions?  Where can we obtain a list of the various properties which the City owns?

    • Mona,

      I doubt whether our greasy politicians will be handing over a list of for-sale properties anytime soon.  Especially since the last Council vote authorized our infamous city manager, Fig-One, to sell, without any further oversight, all properties with a value of less than a half million dollars.  If only the walls had eyes and ears!  I imagine our crack city attorney is asleep at the switch again and sees no conflict of interest in this undertaking.

  16. Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth

    According to a recent opinion poll, 39% of Americans believe the U.S.A. has a crony capitalist system.[2]

    San Jose is Crony Capitalism – Capital of Silicon Valley

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