After a month-long recess, the San Jose City Council is kicking off August with a bang — or at least a slew of possible ballot measures for voters to consider.
On Tuesday, council members will debate putting four possible measures on the November ballot. If they don’t reach a decision, they will reconvene later this week to finish the discussion. Either way, the deadline for adding items to the ballot is Friday, so the council will have to vote on moving the measures forward this week.
Rather than lumping public safety, road repairs and affordable housing into one mammoth general obligation bond, Mayor Sam Liccardo has proposed a $650 million bond to pay for things like street resurfacing — and suggested using up to $50 million of the funds for buying land in Coyote Valley to protect against floods and preserve water quality — and a separate $450 million affordable housing bond measure to build homes for low-income workers and others.
The split would allow voters to support one proposal but not the other, although to pass the measures, the city will have to rally two-thirds of voters in support. A July survey showed that around two-thirds of residents would be likely to support one or more measures, with providing housing affordable for working families polling particularly well — in the mid-70s.
Liccardo has set a goal of building 25,000 new homes, 10,000 of them affordable, in San Jose over the next several years. In a new memo, he acknowledged that voters already passed Measure A two years ago to house homeless people. But Liccardo argued it was not a large enough sum or flexible enough to address broader needs, such as rent-controlled housing for people with jobs. And while voters have passed a number of other bond measures in the last several decades, the city still faces a backlog of repairs and infrastructure improvements of some $1.4 billion.
“After reviewing the polling data,” Liccardo wrote in his memo, “it appears this approach gives the city the best opportunity to win both or either of these measures, and provides voters with the greatest transparency regarding how their votes will affect how their tax dollars are spent.”
The council is also set to consider another ballot measure that would lump two unrelated things together: altering how council member salaries are decided and allowing the council to put an item on the ballot that competes with a voter-sponsored initiative on the same ballot.
Right now, the council votes on its own salary every couple of years. But the council is considering asking voters to authorize a change that would create a baseline for council salaries and automatically increase them every year by no more than 5 percent. A commission would evaluate the salaries and could adjust them every 10 years. In 2019, the council members are expected to make slightly more than $8,000 per month, while the mayor is expected to earn a little more than $11,000 each month.
The issue of allowing the council to put forward a competing …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics