City manager

The Soap Opera at City Hall: ‘As San Jose Turns’

A recent San Jose Inside story uncovered the hubris exhibited at the top levels of our city’s government. The piece shatters the mythology that “professional” governance is somehow better than elected leadership. But salacious details aside, the fact remains that San Jose will remain a second-class city until we adopt a strong-mayor form of government.

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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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Mayor Reed Not Interested in Yeager’s ‘Deal’ on Healthy Kids Funding

Call it a preemptive strike but Ken Yeager deserves a little credit for trying to get something while knowing he’d probably get nothing. Last week, the president of the county Board of Supervisors sent a letter to San Jose Mayor, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and the City Council proposing a deal on how to continue funding the Santa Clara Healthy Kids Program. There’s just one problem. San Jose is broke and has no interest in giving another dime now that the county got Measure A passed.

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Police Chief: The Job Nobody Wants

The recent appointment of Larry Esquivel to “interim” San Jose Police Chief, and the “indefinite” time extension given to name a new police chief, is a stark admission of governmental failure for the city of San Jose.

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Time for San Jose to Grow Up

It is high time San Jose joined the big leagues and moved to a strong-mayor form of government. The recent response by City Manager Debra Figone to Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio’s public suggestion on who should be the police chief is simply another example of the bush-league government system that regulates elected officials to second-class status.

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Prioritizing Future City Spending

At the upcoming Aug. 7 City Council meeting, the discussion will focus on how to prioritize city spending IF revenues increase. So, in the example below, if revenues increase by $10 million—either by revenue growth or tax increase—this is how I think it should be spent by percentage.

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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?

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