Police

We Need an Independent, Responsible Approach for a Safer San Jose

Everyone loves applause—especially politicians. Yet leadership in difficult times often requires making decisions that don’t draw applause. It means having the independence to stand up for everybody, not just the loudest voices or the most powerful groups. When leaders have the independence to tell those groups what they don’t want to hear, it threatens the status quo. And threatened people yell. So, let’s take a breath, hit the “pause” button on the yelling, and start where we all agree. First, San Jose needs more police officers.

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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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Mayor, Councilman Liccardo’s Police Department Plan Flawed from the Start

Last week, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmember Sam Liccardo submitted a proposal to bolster our public safety capacity by focusing on San Jose’s inability to retain police officers. The gist of the Reed-Liccardo proposal was to hire 200 police officers by restoring wages by 10 percent within the next four years. On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable idea. However, because this proposal was more about timely politics than about meaningful policy, I could not support the plan.

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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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Got Milk? Maybe Not in San Jose.

UPDATE: The proposed “soda ban” did not make it out of committee Wednesday.—Editor

What’s the most pressing issue facing the City of San Jose? Is it following through on pension reform to reduce unsustainable sky-high pension liabilities? Paving our streets? Hiring more police officers? Restoring library hours? Unfortunately, some at City Hall believe that telling you what you can and can’t drink trumps all of these other pressing concerns. Today a City Council committee will discuss a proposed ban on “sugary drinks” at all city properties and all city events. Just what is classified as a “sugary drink,” you ask? The answer may surprise you.

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Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel Caught in Labor Crossfire

Breaking up is hard to do. Breaking up a fight between the San Jose police union and City Hall could be damn near impossible. In what appeared to be an effort to mend fences and remind people who’s the boss, Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel recently sent an email this week to his command staff—roughly 50 deputy police chiefs, lieutenants and captains—scolding them for signing on to a letter critical of the city recent actions involving labor negotiations.

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Does San Jose Know the Way to Detroit? Let’s Hope Not

Once a beacon of America’s promise, the city of Detroit is burning out. And if San Jose refuses to innovate in ways Detroit could have, it might face a similar future. To understand how, we must first uncover overlooked similarities between San Jose’s present and Detroit’s past.

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San Jose Fire Chief Leaves for Las Vegas Amid Unanswered Questions

A funny thing happened after Willie McDonald announced in a June 10 email to San Jose Fire Department staff that he was staying on as fire chief. He decided to send another email, only in this message, dated June 13, McDonald thanked everyone for their hard work and abruptly informed them he was leaving for Las Vegas, where he would oversee Clark County’s fire and ambulance services. So, why would a fire chief leave for a job expected to pay him less and demand more? And what would make him change his mind?

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San Jose Police Officers’ Tutorial on Letters of Apology Concerns Public Defender

The San Jose Police Department’s duty manual serves as a bible of sorts when it comes to the rules and regulations for officers. In the 756-page tome that lays out procedures and protocol, five pages are dedicated to interviews and interrogations of witnesses and suspects. Nowhere in the duty manual, however, is there any mention of an interrogation technique that is now receiving criticism from the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s office and local defense attorneys: letters of apology.

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Councilman Sam Liccardo Says Gold Club Will Hurt Downtown Development

After voting to raise taxes on pot clubs earlier this year, San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo has found a new vice to tackle: nudie bars. Spurred by the imminent opening of a gentlemen’s club in downtown, Liccardo has asked the city to impose more restrictions on San Jose’s adult establishments. The city already bans nudity in downtown businesses, which leaves us to presume that the Gold Club, slated to open up Aug. 8 in the historic 81 W. Santa Clara St. building, will operate as a bikini bar.

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