Redevelopment Agency

Council to Discuss Taxes for Affordable Housing, Medical Marijuana

A proposal for a new construction fee to rake in more money for affordable housing has sharply divided the City Council. Vice Mayor and 2014 mayoral candidate Madison Nguyen and Councilman Don Rocha say San Jose desperately needs another funding source for low-income housing since the state-ordered end of Redevelopment Agencies (RDA). But councilmen Pete Constant and Johnny Khamis strongly disagree. Other issues at Tuesday’s City Council meeting include a public hearing to raise the medical marijuana tax and a fight over a recycling facility near the San Jose Flea Market.

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Councilman Sam Liccardo Suggests Participatory Budgeting for Districts

A form of fiscal democracy called “participatory budgeting” that started in Brazil and is slowly gaining traction in the U.S. may soon take hold in San Jose. Councilman Sam Liccardo submitted a proposal to the city Wednesday that asks to set aside $1.05 million from the Essential Services Reserve to fund a pilot program, which would give each of the 10 council districts $100,000 for residents to decide how to spend.

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Judge Orders County to Give $7 million in RDA Money to San Jose

Santa Clara County owes the city of San Jose nearly $7 million that was wrongfully diverted to county employee retirement accounts, according to a ruling handed down Friday by a Sacramento Superior Court judge. The ruling found that beleaguered county finance officials ignored “a half century of construction and application of California law governing allocation of tax increment financing.”

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County Supervisors Look at Property Options

Santa Clara County has collected some valuable parcels of land near downtown San Jose in recent years. San Jose relinquished its old City Hall site in 2011 instead of paying cash for some outstanding debt. The county’s also about to acquire the old Private George L. Richey U.S. Army Reserve to turn into a first-responder training site, adjacent to the existing County Government Center at San Pedro and Hedding streets. Other items also on the county Board of Supervisor’s agenda include harmful prescription drugs in our water supply and funding for programs run by the District Attorney’s Office.

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Rules to Look at Renting Space at City Hall, Nonprofit Health Care Investigation

Parts of City Hall, left a bit empty after layoffs and the Redevelopment Agency’s closure, may soon be open to anyone looking to lease a slice of the swanky 18-story downtown centerpiece. Proceeds from the market-rate rents will go right to the city’s general fund, according to a memo going before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday. Other items include the Pete Constant-Johnny Khamis memo asking the city to investigate how public funds were used to fund a county sales tax measure carried out by organized labor.

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Council Takes on Annual Housing Report, Samsung Incentives

The dissolution of redevelopment agencies and state budget cuts to municipal housing funds have made it tougher for San Jose to meet its goal of building more affordable homes in recent years, according to an annual housing report going before the City Council on Tuesday. Other items on the council agenda include an incentives package for Samsung, a commendation for a police officer who never clocks off and a North San Jose cemetery that is running out of space.

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JP Morgan is San Jose’s Payday Lender

Last week, I participated as the alternate for Mayor Chuck Reed on the oversight board for the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency (SARA). The primary focus of the meeting concerned the approval of a one-year extension to the existing Letter of Credit (LOC) with JP Morgan bank. This extension had already been passed by the City Council, but it was still up to the SARA Oversight Board to approve the extension as well.

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Land Saved for A’s Stadium in Limbo; Legislators Look at New Finance Options

When Gov. Jerry Brown ordered in 2011 the dissolution of California’s 400-plus redevelopment agencies (RDAs), San Jose was forced to halt the kind of subsidized development that built much of downtown over the past two decades. Now the city might have to work out a new deal on RDA land it has been holding for a potential baseball stadium in the hope that the Oakland A’s can relocate to San Jose. But as the legal fight between the state and municipalities continues, other ideas for tax-increment financing (TIF) districts are emerging.

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Council to Discuss Samsung Incentives

UPDATE: The Samsung item on this week’s agenda has been deferred to March 26.

An incentives package designed to convince Samsung to make San Jose home to its new North American research headquarters goes before the City Council on Tuesday for final approval. Other items on the agenda include the sale of some small properties, a proposal to extend debt payments to JP Morgan and a labor negotiations update.

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West San Carlos

West San Carlos (WSC), with its cool vibe and eclectic mix of businesses, is not only a destination in-and-of itself, but it also plays a pivotal role linking downtown San Jose and Santana Row. This area also happens to fall within both the city and county jurisdictions. This dual jurisdiction has historically thwarted development, and has made consistent code enforcement difficult. But with recent annexations, there now exists the opportunity for positive private economic development to happen on WSC.

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RDA Clawback Imperils Important Projects

Last week, I attended the meeting of the Redevelopment Agency Successor Oversight Board for the City of Santa Clara. I urged the group to reject the California Finance Department’s move to “clawback” $1.25 million from Bill Wilson Center’s Peacock Commons housing project.

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