Breaking up is hard to do, except in election years. Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and county Supervisor Cindy Chavez have do-si-doed on tax measures in the past, but the music stopped last year after Guardino threw his unabashed support behind his best bro Sam Liccardo in the San Jose mayor’s race. Chavez went all-in for county Board of Supervisors colleague Dave Cortese. Things have since smoothed out, as Chavez is no longer sending Guardino’s calls to VM. That reconciliation, however, could be put to the test. The Leadership Group conducted polling at the end of May and found that 68 percent of respondents supported a 30-year, half-cent sales tax increase to improve local transportation infrastructure; a quarter-cent hike fared a bit better with 71 percent approving. Chavez serves as vice chair of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and on Tuesday she and her colleagues heard Guardino’s pitch for putting a measure on the ballot November 2016. VTA is a public agency, so it can’t run the campaign. As a result, a bevy of suitors are expected to push for control of the organizing committee to fix potholes, improve transit services for vulnerable residents and extend BART to downtown San Jose, amongst other proposals. Guardino might find himself up against “personal friend” Ben Field, CEO of the South Bay Labor Council, which has apparently been doing its own polling. Labor purportedly prefers broader language on how the funds would be distributed. Guardino touts the fact that he has coordinated four successful transportation ballot measures in the past—all but one had the support of the South Bay Labor Council—and he’s drawing a couple lines in the sand. The Leadership Group insists it won’t lend its support to any initiative unless it has clearly defined projects, which requires two-thirds of the vote, and the measure must be placed on the November ballot to ensure more supportive turnout.
Notes: The Silicon Valley leadership Group polling had some pretty interesting results on what people in Santa Clara County want, and some of those results were shared with San Jose Inside. Here are some of the numbers:
- Traffic is the great uniter in more ways than one—88 percent of people polled somewhat support or strongly support reducing traffic congestion.
- More than 80 percent of people polled support providing more after-school tutoring programs for youth, the building of new water recycling plants for drinking water, finishing the BART extension to San Jose and Santa Clara, and building more affordable housing.
- People are down on building a new downtown ballpark to move the Oakland A's to San Jose. Just 29 percent of people supported such a project.
- The high-speed rail project has also lost momentum, as only 54 percent said they support construction of a line between NorCal and SoCal.
San Jose-specific questions showed some other interesting results:
- 86 percent of people polled in San Jose favor sending ambulances rather than "large fire trucks" to medical emergencies to improve response times.
- 71 percent favor a rent control law that limits rent increases to no more than 2 percent a year.
- 55 percent favor increasing the city sales tax to restore budget cuts and hire more police.