Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Morning News Round-Up -- 5.6.09: Shading sunshine in San Jose...

Yawn, Watch Dog hopes this is the end of the Swine Flu updates. Yesterday was the last day of the Swine Flu vacation, today schools are open and expecting your kids at their desks. Santa Clara County Health Officer Marty Fenstersheib made the bold decision shortly after the Centers for Disease Control backed off rigid closing requirements. “This novel virus looks exactly like the seasonal flu...” except for the school closures and mass-hysteria... (or Mask Hysteria.)

On to the fun stuff -- yesterday's San Jose City Council meeting...

There’s a new gig up for grabs, again. The San Jose City Council agreed to reopen the hiring process for the Independent Police Auditor and keep the original applicants in the mix. Yep, that’s right, Chris Constantin has a second shot at being the guy to review his brother's (and his brother's brothers-in-blue) work. But this isn't the most interesting part of the City Council meeting yesterday... this is:

Mayor Chuck Reed was a little testy, trying hard to get colleagues to tell all of the closed door session discussion when the chose Constantin, who apparently wasn't Mayor Reed's first choice. Remember, Councilmember Nora Campos was spinning the tale that she didn't know about Constantin's police-relations when she voted to make him the new IPA. The Mayor (apparently) knows that Campos is not telling the truth -- and so do some Councilmembers. The Mayor tried, unsuccessfully, to get the Council to release the notes from the Closed Session meeting where Constantin was approved. But the majority on the City Council said, unbelievably, that they would like to decide in private whether to keep the private conversation private. (That sentence makes sense, read it again...) So much for sunshine...

San Jose Revealed weighs in on the new/old IPA hunt (Reed screwed up) and the Earthquakes land deal (the City lost money). Revealed also shares opinions on the Mayor’s biennial Ethics Review Memo.

San Jose Inside’s Fly dishes the news that members of the Elections Commission are hinting that Councilmember Nora Campos was the source of the anonymous complaint against Tom McEnery. Campos’ Chief of Staff Ryan Ford heard the hints and suggested the Elections Commission go ahead, try to find out saying, “we had nothing to do with that.” City Clerk Lee Price says the Commission doesn’t have the authority to investigate. Perhaps evidence would point to the (blo)sphere of influence between Campos and San Jose Revealed and the complaint...

GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL! Is expected to be heard in San Jose. Tuesday the City Council unanimously approved sale of land to Earthquakes/A’s owner Lew Wolff to build a soccer stadium, a hotel, and some retail shops. Soccer Silicon Valley president Don Gagliardi expressed his inner soccer joy saying “...this is the culmination of five years of effort...”

Home value tracking site provided the news that the plunging housing market has slowed, a little. Wet blanket Santa Clara Assessor Larry Stone offered his thoughts that the home value losses were greater than the $57 billion estimated by “I was surprised it was so low, there has been a serious erosion of equity,” said party pooper Stone.

Vahid Hosseini was a respected shopkeeper in a tough neighborhood with occasional gang violence. The Willow Market was the place where neighbors could cash their paychecks and get groceries. Police Chief Rob Davis announced Tuesday Alejandro Mendoza has been arrested for last years murder of Hosseini. Chief Davis said “the investigation is still ongoing – literally – as we speak,” and asked anyone with information call 408-277-5283.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Liz Kniss is expecting unprecedented federal support and says without it “our financial boat would barely be afloat.” The President (Kniss) is referring to federal stimulus dollars coming from D.C. to provide support for some of the County’s mental health, alcohol/drug abuse programs, and those gentle Nightingales who poked a needle in your Swine Fluish arm. Not helped by the federal bucks will be seniors, the disabled, and unemployed families – all of whom can expect continued budget cuts. (While Kniss is making her case in the newspaper, Supervisors in San Mateo County were actually testifying on Capitol Hill...)

Lest we forget, yesterday was an Election Day in some parts of the County. Voters in the Moreland and Cupertino Union School Districts agreed to help schools and passed their parcel tax measures, in spite of the gloomy economy.

It was a geeks paradise where San Jose’s Harker Academy eighth-grader Sierra Lincoln proved herself the geekiest of all. Lincoln took three awards in all and won top awards for programming and robot skills at the international VEX Robotics championship competition in Omaha, Nebraska. Geek on, sister.

Saratoga wants more of those fed dollars and is fighting for more than the $851,580 street paving dollars guaranteed. Saratoga is hoping to move City offices completely off the electric grid and is banking on federal green bucks to help make that happen.

Monte Sereno’s City Council had the unenviable chore of voting itself a salary during the worst economic disaster in decades. Councilmember Marshall Anstandig vows to return the salary or donate it to charity. Monte Serenan Lon Allen wants the Council to delay the vote a month in order to mail a postcard to everyone in town letting them know about the $300/month proposal. Estimated cost of mailing postcards: $3,600.

Morgan Hill’s Chamber of Commerce decided to move the popular Friday Night Music Series out of the street and into the amphitheatre – against the wishes of downtown merchants who see revenue disappearing into the amphitheatre along with the music. As of press time it was not known how many Chamber members voted for the move.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District meets to vote on a proposal to raise South County water rates. Great Oaks attorney Tim Guster called the rate raising process “flawed” and plans to attend the Wednesday night meeting to say so.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Mayor Reed I owe you a big apology! Yesterday's Council meeting was a real eye opener for me, and it should be for you too.

If any of you get the chance you might want to go on line and view yesterday's Council meeting. It was certainly enlightening. Our Mayor's attempts to bring sunshine to the entire IPA hiring situation was blocked by Campos, Kalra, Herrera, Pyle, Nguyen, and Chu. These six voted to go back to closed session to discuss what "we the public" are allowed know. One interesting point the Mayor did get to bring out was that he voted against Constantin as his first choice, in the first vote taken.

I have to wonder why he is being accused of putting in Constantin, when he didn’t even vote for the guy, and why he is being accused of not telling the Council about Constantin’s brother, when the majority of the Council ran for the hills when asked to allow the Mayor to disclose what happened behind closed doors….

I also found it extremely odd that most of the 6 Council members who voted against Reed wanting to bring sunshine to this issue, actually said they didn't have a problem telling the public where they stood, but voted to continue to conceal facts from the public. I also think it is rather weird to continue meeting in closed session without taping it! I don't think we'll ever really have sunshine at the City of San Jose.

And finally, Nguyen throwing the Mayor under the bus blew my mind! After all he has done for her, she ran for the hills leaving Reed to stand alone in whirl wind of false accusations, and media scrutiny. She was more concerned about the possible public embarrassment she and her fellow Council members would suffer, if Reed were allowed to disclosed discussions they had in closed session on the hiring of the IPA. So she made a little speech about sorry Reed you’ll suffer alone, and then she made a motion to shelve the discussion, go to another closed-door session to plan exactly what “we members of the public” get to know. With friends like her, who needs enemies!

Doesn't anyone think it is odd that Reed is being accused of putting Constantin in the IPA position, when he has been battling with the POA? Yet no one has considered the close ties that Campos, Pyle, Nguyen, Kalra, Herrera, and Chu have to the Police/POA. Is it possible that they might be the reason why Constantin actually got the job, and not Mayor Reed? Does the next Mayoral election have anything to do with the timing of all of this? Interesting to sit back and watch the strategy and players in this political drama! Dinner and a movie anyone?