Police

Arresting Developments

A recent discussion within our community has focused on building even more single-family homes in areas that are reserved for jobs or fall outside of the urban service area. The proposal would allow those who convert industrial land to pay a fee per housing unit created. Those dollars would then be used to purchase open space in Coyote Valley. Although this idea may be worthy of discussion in theory, my concern is that such land use decisions would ultimately hurt San Jose’s economy.

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San Jose Is Not Detroit

Hyperbole is the crudest way to make a point. It’s also the easiest way to lose an audience. But there’s a desperate talking point in local political circles going unchallenged. No longer.

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Up in Smoke? Medical Marijuana, Pot Clubs Back in front of Rules Committee

After failed past attempts to regulate medical marijuana collectives in San Jose, the city should take up the issue again, says Councilman Don Rocha—just as a voter initiative to legalize the stuff cleared for signature gathering. Other items on the agenda for Wednesday’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting include Councilman Xavier Campos asking for the city to sponsor a gun buyback event, Voice Mayor Madison Nguyen wanting some pension reform clarification and David Wall doing his best David Wall impersonation.

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Council Considers Historic Landmark Designation for Ken Ying Low

A nearly 100-year-old Chinese restaurant may get a historic designation, protecting it from new development. The City Council on Tuesday will vote whether to make Ken Ying Low an official historic landmark. Located at 625 N. Sixth St. in Japantown, the building is the last vestige of what was once a Chinese neighborhood. Other items on the council agenda include a $154,000 contract for a company to count trees in San Jose and stricter requirements for healthy options in city-owned vending machines.

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Independent Police Auditor Places Outreach SIgns on More than 100 Buses

Last year it was utility bills. This year, the San Jose Independent Police Auditor’s office has placed signs on more than 100 buses in San Jose, asking residents to reach out if they think a police officer has has broken the law or acted inappropriately. Judge LaDoris Cordell, who oversees the IPA, says the buses on which the ads are displayed—in English, Spanish and Vietnamese—come out of the Chaboya garage line and criss-cross East San Jose and downtown.

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Council to Discuss Success of Plastic Bag Ban, New Fire Engines

That single-use plastic bag ban worked. The city enacted the 10-cent charge and San Jose’s shoppers adapted accordingly, bringing their own reusable bags instead of opting for single-use recycled paper bags, according to city staff. It’s a good thing, too, because that good behavior is pushing the city to consider canceling a fee increase that would have come into effect Jan. 1, upping the price-per-paper bag to 25 cents. Other items on Tuesday;‘s City Council agenda include a $5 million settlement with a Halloween partier who was shot 20 times by police and the potential pick up of two new fire engines.

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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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