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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From City Beautiful to Art Box Project SJ

From the late 1890s into the 1920s, there was a national movement in the United States to create more livable cities. At its core, this movement believed that cities should be more than simply places where people work and lived. The movement was called City Beautiful. Now, on a smaller scale, one local citizen has refashioned this idea while eliminating graffiti.

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San Jose Can Win Battle Against Graffiti

For every big city, graffiti too often presents a Sisyphean challenge. Volunteers and abatement crews diligently work to clean it up—particularly the gang-related tags that most demoralize and threaten residents—only to see the same markings return a couple of days later. Happily, community engagement and innovation have combined to lighten our burden in recent months—with positive results to prove it.


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, from deferring a tax break for San Jose’s biggest companies and an updated report on graffiti to a government program to retrain people laid off from Solyndra.

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Graffiti-Gate: NBC, Xavier Campos Attack

Are San Jose’s graffiti clean up crews padding the stats to make more money? That’s the question our favorite investigative crew over at NBC is asking. Last June, the city laid off employees and outsourced its graffiti abatement program in an attempt to cut down on expenses to the General Fund. Graffiti Protective Coatings (GPC), a Los Angeles-based private contractor, signed a five-year contract with the city worth $3.1 million. But only nine months into that contract, GPC told the city that it has already exceeded its yearly quota.


Unions, Graffiti and Utility Boxes

Last Tuesday at the council meeting, we spent approximately 90 minutes discussing the Teamsters Union at the Convention Center. Long story-short, this is a labor dispute between two different union locals that will be settled by the National Labor Relations Board. However, in the meantime, the Convention Center (which is the largest source of the City’s hotel tax receipts and drives airport traffic) is getting negative PR which is affecting prospective convention business in San Jose.