Budget

County to Discuss Measure A Spending

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will decide how to allocate a third of this year’s Measure A revenue, or $15.3 million. They’re expected to spend the bulk of it on affordable housing and healthcare for the uninsured. Other items on the include guidelines for a 55-acre civic center in downtown San Jose, rapid re-housing for the homeless and downsizing a tobacco prevention and control program.

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Cuts Could Leave Poorest Residents in Silicon Valley Searching for Food

The government shutdown may be over, but the Republican-fueled hits keep on coming—especially for Silicon Valley’s most vulnerable citizens. Starting Nov. 1, extra funding provided by the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package, expire. As a result, people who rely on rely on food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or CalFresh in California, will see their benefits decrease. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last month that would cut $40 billion from the program over the next decade—resulting in 3.8 million people getting kicked off the program next year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

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Santa Clara County Down Another CFO

CFOs are dropping like flies—well, not this Fly—over at the County of Santa Clara offices. Last Friday marked the final hurrah in the tenure of Dave McGrew, the chief financial officer of Valley Medical Center (VMC) since August 2011. Word is McGrew was placed on administrative leave a couple weeks prior to his sayonara. While McGrew trotted out the boilerplate goodbye in an email to staff, citing a need for more time with his family, his admin leave was not voluntary, according to sources in the county. David Claude, the director of general accounting, will take over as interim CFO, which means the county now has temps staffing its two most important finance positions.

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Mayor Reed Files Forms for Statewide ‘Pension Reform Act of 2014’

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on Tuesday filed to put a polarizing state constitutional amendment on the November 2014 ballot that would allow government agencies to dial down public pension benefits. If voters OK the Pension Reform Act of 2014, it would change the state constitution to empower government agencies to negotiate existing employees’ pension and retiree healthcare going forward.

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San Jose Officials’ Sister City Trip to Dublin Expected to Cost at Least $20,000

The Emerald Isle is calling. Ten San Jose officials will fly this week to Dublin, Ireland, for the bi-annual “Sister City” trip, which is basically a pub crawl disguised as a city-sponsored economic development junket. Among the lucky 10 are four councilmembers (Xavier Campos, Rose Herrera, Ash Kalra and Johnny Khamis); three department heads (budget director Jennifer Maguire; Joe Hedges, of economic development; and environmental services’ Kerrie Romanow); two council chiefs of staff (Shane Patrick Connolly, for Khamis; and Mary Anne Groen, for Herrera); and one soon-to-retire city manager, Debra Figone. If that seems like overkill, well, it is.

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Council to Review Annual Budget Performance, Semi-Annual Audit

City Manager Debra Figone’s annual budget performance review, which will go before the City Council on Tuesday, shows that 2012-13 revenue totaled $2.29 billion, about 1.2 percent ($28.6 million) below the budgeted estimate. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include Xavier Campos hosting a gun buyback at a District 5 church, Kansen Chu pushing a solar panel incentive program and a semi-annual review of city audits.

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County Has $9.7 Million of Measure A Revenue up for Grabs

After spending most of this year’s anticipated Measure A revenue to pull out of a deficit and boost some service levels, Santa Clara County officials are looking for ways to spend a remaining $9.7 million of the 1/8 cent sales tax. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include the county picking up the full cost of the Healthy Kids program—rather than getting a little help from San Jose, a plan by Supervisor Ken Yeager to save a Santa Clara library and Supervisor Joe Simitian looking to grade local restaurants.

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Community Coalitions Can Help Take Back San Jose’s Neighborhoods

San Jose is in desperate need of neighborhood coalitions and the community involvement they foster. Crime has increased and extensive cuts have been made to basic neighborhood services. With our quality of life at stake, it is important for residents to get involved with their local neighborhood associations or community groups.

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Disconnect between Mayor Reed, City Manager on Police Chief Search?

In his weekly call-in show Monday with KLIV 1590 executive director George Sampson, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed pulled back the curtain a bit on the city’s efforts to find a permanent police chief. The question is whether or not City Manager Debra Figone—the person charged with suggesting who to hire—was ready for that curtain call. Reed told Sampson he expects the city to officially name a permanent police chief by the end of this year. But, according to the city manager’s office, the search to name a long-term police chief has not been active in roughly eight months.

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Honoring San Jose’s Unsung Heroes

In a sight to behold, Obed Rivera stood in front of a crowd of 300 volunteers, city of San Jose staff, elected officials, family and neighbors, as he accepted the Anti-Litter Program Volunteer of the Year Award. The award was one of several presented at the annual volunteer appreciation event hosted earlier this month by Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS).

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Council to Consider New Contractor for Environmental Innovation Center

After royally screwing up the Environmental Innovation Center (EIC) project, the city’s trying to clean up the mess by hiring a financially stable contractor. The City Council will consider a takeover agreement with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company when it meets Tuesday. Other items on the agenda include a project to house homeless people, new developments at the airport and a review of local cities’ disability retirement programs.

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Leadership Transition Continues with City Manager Debra Figone’s Retirement

San Jose City Manager Debra Figone announced this week she will retire after overseeing city operations for six years. Her tenure, which will come to an end in December, has marked some of the most difficult years in the city’s history, as the City Council enacted layoffs and pay cuts to cope with historic budget deficits. Her departure will likely leave the city with an interim city manager, police chief and fire chief, all while the 2014 mayoral race is in full swing.

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Council to Discuss Top Priorities, Audit of Consultants and Contracts

Regulating alcohol sales, electric car plug-ins and cannabis clubs are among the city’s top priorities this coming year, according to a memo up for discussion at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Other items on the meeting agenda include a development deal that could land the city a new park and an audit that finds the monitoring of consultants needs to be much improved.

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Cuts to Head Start Education Set a Course for Economic Suicide

I recently voted to use $1.2 million of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s budget to keep 170 low-income children in Head Start programs this school year. The program had been cut due to the federal sequestration. Each dollar put into quality early learning experiences returns at least $7 to society through increased productivity, while also reducing the need for federal assistance and fewer teens/adults entering the criminal justice system.

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