San Jose, California

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San Jose, California
Seal of San Jose, California.png
General information
City website:http://www.sanjoseca.gov/
Chuck Reed.png
Mayor:Chuck Reed
Mayor party:Non-partisan
Last mayoral election:2010
Next mayoral election:2014
Last city council election:2012
Next city council election:2014
City council seats:11
2013-2014 FY Budget:$2.9 billion
Composition data
Population:998,537
Gender:49.7% Female
Race:White 42.8%
Hispanic or Latino 33.2%
African American 3.2%
Asian 32.0%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 0.9%
Two or More 5.0%
Unemployment:5.9%
Median household income:$81,349
High school graduation rate:82.4%
College graduation rate:37.2%
Related San Jose offices
California Congressional Delegation
California State Legislature
California state executive offices
San Jose is a city in California and is the seat of Santa Clara County. As of 2013, its population was 998,537.[1]

Office of the Mayor

Chuck Reed is the current Mayor of San Jose.

City council

Council-Manager System

The City of San Jose utilizes a council-manger government system. While the City Council constitutes the city's legislative body and is responsible for shaping civic policy, adopting laws and ordinances and approving budgets, five council appointees also participate in government operations. These council appointees include: City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk, City Auditor and Independent Police Auditor.[2]

Membership

The City Council includes the Mayor, who is the Chair of the Council and is elected at-large, and ten council members who are elected by voters in one of the ten districts that they represent. Each council member serves four-year, staggered terms.[2]

Current members, San Jose City Council
District Councilmember
1 Pete Constant
2 Ash Kalra
3 Sam Liccardo
4 Kansen Chu
5 Xavier Campos
6 Pierluigi Oliverio
7 Madison Nguyen
8 Rose Herrera
9 Donald Rocha
10 Johnny Khamis

Elections

The city of San Jose, California will hold elections for mayor and city council on November 4, 2014. The primary election took place on June 3, 2014. In any race where a candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, they were declared elected and are not required to run on November 4.[3] Five seats are up for election.


Budget

San Jose's budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 was $2.9 billion.[4]

Contact Information

Office of the Mayor
200 East Santa Clara Street
18th Floor
San José, CA 95113
Phone:(408) 535-4800
Email: mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov

City Council
200 E. Santa Clara St.
San José, CA 95113

Lobbying

See also: California government sector lobbying

The City of San Jose spent $160,000 on federal lobbying in 2013.[5] The city filed for the following issues:

The City of San Jose maintains a database of active lobbyists and clients here.

Ballot Measures

See also: Santa Clara County, California ballot measures

The city of San Jose is in Santa Clara County. A list of ballot measures in Kern County is available here.

Initiative process

See: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

Population as of the July, 2011 census update: 967,487[6] San Jose is a charter city.

San Jose's has its own initiative process for ordinances determined by the city charter. The state process (see above for details) is applicable wherever the city is silent. The signature requirement is 5% of the number of persons eligible to vote according to the last report of registration filed by the County Registrar of Voters with the Secretary of State, or 10% to force a special election. Otherwise the process is governed by the California Election Code.

The San Jose City Charter

Public pensions

In the past 10 years, the city's budget has increase by 21 percent while employee costs have gone up by 87 percent for public employees, and 99 percent for emergency services.[7] The City owes $5.4 billion in pension benefits and has $1.1 billion in unfunded liability for its pension system and $1.2 billion in unfunded liability for retiree healthcare benefits.[7][8] According to Mayor Reed, unfunded retirement liabilities are projected to reach $400 million by 2016.

In May, 2011, the city council adopted Mayor Chuck Reed's Fiscal Reform Plan, which attempts to reform the city's pension system. Among the changes to be made:[9]

  • Cap the city's contribution for new employees at 9% of base salary.
  • Raise the full retirement benefits age to 60 for public safety employees, and 65 for all other employees.
  • Increase the eligibility for retiree health benefits to 20 years of service.
  • Limit cost of living adjustments to 1% annually.

Negotiations with employee labor organizations are scheduled to be completed by the end of October, 2011. The package will then be put before voters in time to be included in the city's FY 2012-2013 operating budget.

San Jose actuarial reports show $3.5 billion of city debt for underfunded pension and retiree health benefits -- a shortfall that works out to about $11,000 for every household in the city. The calculations show the city's retirement programs combined have only 56 percent of the funds they should.[10]

Due to the enormity of pension issues facing San Jose, a group of state lawmakers launched a campaign for a state legislative audit of the city's finances and pension debts. The audit is in response to a June pension reform ballot measure that the city's mayor is pushing to ease the growing costs of employee retirement.[11]

2014 Pacific Research Institute report

In January 2014, the Pacific Research Institute, a California-based public policy organization, issued a report on the largest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcies across the United States as well as other municipalities facing financial straits. The municipalities included in the report were San Jose, Detroit, MI, New York City, Harrisburg, PA, Stockton, CA, and San Bernardino, CA.[12] According to the report, as of January 2014, the city spent 25% of the city's $1.1 billion general fund on pensions and retiree health care benefits, which was also increasing.[12] Several services were cut, including libraries, community centers, and new facilities left unused.[12] City workers were laid off as well, while police officers and firefighters in San Jose could retire after 30 years with pensions worth 90 percent of their salaries. In 2014, Mayor Chuck Reed proposed, and the city approved, a pension reform plan. The plan would allow current city workers to keep their pensions if they contribute 16 percent of their salaries to the pension fund, while future hires would be put into a less costly plan.[12]

Referendum

The city council in San Jose approved a measure for the June 2012 ballot that would overhaul pensions for city workers to rein in their rising costs. San Jose's measure would place new city employees into a "hybrid" retirement plan combining a traditional pension with 401(k)-like accounts or Social Security. The measure would also give current employees the option of keeping current retirement plans by paying a larger share of their cost or selecting a lower-cost plan. Additionally, the measure would allow the city council to suspend cost-of-living increases for retirees in fiscal emergencies and require voters approve raising retirement benefits.[13] On March 6 the city council voted 8-3 to place pension reform measures on the June ballot.[14]

Voters in San Jose overwhelmingly supported a plan to overhaul city pensions. The changes called for in the Measure B pension reform include[15]

  • Current employees keep pension credits already earned but must pay up to 16 percent more of their salary to continue that benefit or choose a more modest and affordable plan for their remaining years on the job.
  • Limit retirement benefits for future hires by requiring them to pay half the cost of a pension.
  • Suspend current retirees' 3 percent yearly pension raises up to five years if the city declares a fiscal crisis.
  • Discontinue "bonus" pension checks to retirees.
  • Require voter approval for future pension increases.
  • Change disability retirement with the aim of limiting it to those whose injuries prevent them from working.

Six months following the passage of Measure B, city officials are making some progress, but facing other obstacles as "some key, highly trained workers -- chiefly cops and wastewater plant workers -- bolt for better-paid jobs, worsening staffing shortages." That exodus has sharpened the cries of critics who had urged Reed to abandon the ballot measure in favor of a negotiated deal with the city's labor unions and another tax increase. They argue what progress has been made on pension changes -- mostly for new hires -- is overshadowed by legal bills to defend Measure B. The City Council this month set aside $1.2 million for contract lawyers handling the fight.[16]

Website evaluation

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Budget
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials P
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts P
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Lobbying
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Public Records Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Current and past budget documents are posted.[17]
  • City Council meeting schedule, documents, and videos are posted.[18][19]
  • Contact information is provided for the Mayor and City Council. Term information is also posted.[20][21]
  • Administrators are listed with phone numbers; email addresses are not posted for all administrators.[22]
  • Phone numbers are provided for each city department.[23]
  • Permitting and zoning information is provided.[24][25]
  • Public records request form and procedures are disclosed.[26]
  • Audit reports are posted.[27]
  • Current and past bids are posted, as are quarterly contract reports, but active contract documents are not available.[28][29]
  • Whistleblower Hotline information is posted to report potential fraud with procurement.[30]
  • Local tax information is posted.[31]
  • Information regarding the city's lobbying activities and information for lobbyists is provided.[32]
  • Vendor checks are posted.[33]

The bad

  • Administrator email addresses are not posted.
  • Current contracts are not listed.

See Also

External Links

Elections

References

  1. U.S. Census "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on August 6, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 City of San Jose "Government," accessed on August 6, 2014
  3. City of San José "2014 City of San José City Councilmember and Mayoral Primary Election," accessed March 10, 2014
  4. City of San Jose "2013-2014 Adopted Budget in Brief," accessed on August 6, 2014
  5. Open Secrets "City of San Jose, California, accessed on August 6, 2014
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named census
  7. 7.0 7.1 Cal Watch, Pensions Crushing San Jose; City Voters Eye Reform, Sept. 24, 2010
  8. Cal Watch, NEW: San Jose In Deep Pension Mess, Sept. 30, 2010
  9. Fiscal Reforms
  10. Contra Costa Times, Daniel Borenstein: San Jose faces $3.5 billion debt for employee retirement programs, March 3, 2012
  11. San Jose Mercury News, Lawmakers call for state audit of San Jose's pension problems, March 5, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Pacific Research Institute, "Going Broke One City at a Time: Municipal Bankruptcies in America," January 10, 2014
  13. Reuters, San Jose, California step closer on pension reform vote, Dec. 7, 2011
  14. San Jose Mercury News, San Jose Mayor confident on key pension vote, March 6, 20012
  15. ]http://www.mercurynews.com/elections/ci_20790991/early-returns-san-jose-voters-approving-pension-reform/ San Jose Mercury News, All precincts counted: San Jose passes pension reform, June 5, 2012]
  16. San Jose Mercury, Some progress but big fights ahead on San Jose pension reform, Dec. 30, 2012
  17. Budget
  18. Council Meetings
  19. City Council and Redevelopment Agency Archive
  20. Office of the Mayor
  21. City Council
  22. Key Contacts
  23. Call Center
  24. Building
  25. Planning
  26. Public Records Request Form
  27. City Auditor
  28. BidLine
  29. Contract Reports
  30. Whistleblower Hotline
  31. Finance - Tax Forms and Information
  32. Lobbyist Information
  33. Vendor Checks