Council to Talk Corporate Taxes, Graffiti

One of the first actions of Tuesday’s City Council meeting will be a commendation honoring Santana Row’s 10th anniversary. Another will note the heroism of Robert Sotelo, who saved a woman from a burning house. From there, the topics touch on a host of city issues, while a number of items have been conspicuously deferred to Oct. 23.

A night meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, but because observance of Yom Kippur begins in the evening—Councilmember Rose Herrera is Jewish—and certain items require more attention (and possibly a decisive sixth vote).

Here are some of the key items on Tuesday’s agenda:

— Councilmember Nancy Pyle, proving she isn’t quite ready to ride into the term limit sunset, put forth an idea last week to defer extending the cap program on the Telecommunications Users Tax (TUT) for the city’s three largest companies. (While we’re awaiting confirmation, Cisco, eBay and IBM were the three largest companies in San Jose as of 2011, according to Mayor Chuck Reed’s spokesperson, Michelle McGurk. Hitachi and Adobe came in fourth and fifth on the list, respectively.)

The memo says such action would increase city revenue by approximately $600,000. Councilmember Pyle met with CIsco officials this afternoon, according to her chief of staff, Kathy Sutherland, so more details should be forthcoming. For some background on TUT, here is a description of Measure K from 2008, which voters approved. The measure made the tax flat to relieve the workload on corporate and city staff while also broadening the inclusiveness of what falls under TUT.

(UPDATE: Councilmember Pyle says she will pull the item from the agenda after meeting with Cisco today. “Im gonna pull it with the prioviso that I put it on the agenda in order to try and do something to generate income,” she said. “I want to push that kind of thinking until I can’t push anymore.” Pyle added that she intends to call for a study session to increase revenue that would include the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, local corporations, and other sectors of the community.)

— A semi-annual report of graffiti and litter will be presented. Despite an alarming report this spring that graffiti was on the rise and the new contractor for abatement, Graffiti Protective Coatings, had overcharged the city while underestimating its costs, staff is reporting that the city came under budget and the program is outperforming previous efforts.

— The council will approve Team San Jose performance measures after the item was deferred from the Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 meetings.

— The council will approve a Shred-A-Thon and E-Waste Collection Day in District 1, home to Councilmember Pete Constant, as a city-sponsored event to be held Oct. 13 at the corner of Olsen Drive and South Winchester Boulevard.

— More revenue than anticipated will result in park funds being rolled over to individual districts. The matter has been deferred to Oct. 16. “It’s restricted for spending on parks within those districts,” says David Vossbrink, the city communications director. “It can’t be used for operating in the office.” Good to know.

— A decision to consolidate some boards and commissions has been deferred to Oct. 23.

— A decision to change when public hearings are held has also been deferred to Oct. 23.

— The city and its work2future program will use a $2 million to help former Solyndra and Cisco employees who were laid off. The program’s goal is to provide training and help facilitate new employment for some of the 1,100 workers laid off from Solyndra, the solar power manufacturing plant in Fremont.

— Also on the agenda is a possible amendment to the city’s sign codes

— And, as Councilmember Oliverio wrote about today for San Jose Inside, a review of the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan will take place.

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


  1. “The city and its work2future program will use a $2 million to help former Solyndra and Cisco employees who were laid off.”

    What’s that all about?  When did the City of SJ get into the business of training laid off employees?  It’s no wonder that SJ has budget problems. How many other programs like this do we have?

  2. This program probably falls under the “Other” budget line item for 200 million dollars.  Remember the General Fund (the one that is often reported as being so low) is only a small percentage of the cities total intake.

    Maybe instead of having ballot measures to “reform” pensions we should have a ballot measure to amend the City Charter to increase the amount of money that is allocated to the General Fund so we can pay our employees fairly and get good services again.  When $200 million goes to something listed as “other” people should be asking questions.

  3. “The program’s goal is to provide training and help facilitate new employment for some of the 1,100 workers laid off from Solyndra, the solar power manufacturing plant in Fremont.” 

    Fremont!?  Someone needs to answer this, why are San Jose taxpayers paying to train former workers of Solyndra, that used to be located in Fremont?  These workers did not contribute to the SJ local economy, yet we’ll train them?  If they were professionals, they can and often will pay for their own training.

    SJ taxpayers deserve an answer.

  4. So let me get this straight – The City applied for and was awarded a grant from the State in the amount of $2,025,000 to pay for “specialized needs and resources” for laid off Solyndra Employees when their Unemployment Insurance runs out???

    BUT, The City couldn’t apply grants to hire police officers or firefighters or librarians or tree trimmers of janitors or dispatchers or clerical staff…to keep the City Running efficiently?

    This is interesting, very interesting.  It shows us where the City Manager, Mayor and Council’s priorities are – with employees from a failed company headquartered in Fremont?  Where is Fremont? Isn’t that in Alameda County?  Why does the City care more about employees in Fremont than it does about employees in San Jose or the taxpayers in San Jose who are suffering because of service cuts due to staffing cuts?

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