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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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City Council, District 10 — City of San Jose

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About this office

Members of the city council draft and vote on city laws and appoint certain municipal officers and employees.
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Candidates

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Johnny Khamis

San Jose District 10 City Councilmember
Top 3 Priorities
  1. Public Safety
  2. Fixing and Maintaining Our Roads
  3. Fiscal Responsibility
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J. Michael Sodergren

Network Services Executive
Top 3 Priorities
  1. Acknowledge the true magnitude of our loss of veteran...
  2. Bring a new understanding to San Jose' s elected leadership...
  3. Ensure San Jose's Planning Department, and its committees...
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Councilmember/Businessman/Father
15,983 votes (76.08%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Public Safety
  • Fixing and Maintaining Our Roads
  • Fiscal Responsibility

Experience

Experience

Profession:San Jose District 10 City Councilmember
Councilmember, City and San Jose (2013–current)
Councilmember, District 10, City of San Jose — Elected position (2013–current)
CEO, Western Benefit Solutions (2004–2015)
Chair, Small Business Development Commission — Appointed position (2010–2012)
Commissioner, Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission — Appointed position (2002–2011)

Education

San Jose State University Bachelor's Degree, Business Management and Communication (current)
San Jose State University Bachelor of Science, Business Management (1991)

Community Activities

Member , Almaden Valley Kiwanis (2011–current)
Volunteer , Boy Scouts Troop 262 (2010–current)

Biography

As immigrants from war torn Lebanon, Johnny and his family fled to the freedom of the United States in 1976 when he was only eight years old where they settled in San José. Johnny spent most of his childhood in the City of San José and fondly remembers the orchards that stretched over so much of the City. From George Minor Elementary School to Leonard Herman Middle and on to Oak Grove High School, Johnny spent much of his youth exploring San José on his bicycle, going to the movies or swimming at the Oak Grove pool.

After graduating from high school, Johnny went on to San José State University to earn his degree in Business Management and Communication. He used his education, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to start his own company, Western Benefit Solutions. Johnny was also a financial advisor and personally managed more than 200 individual and business accounts.

Johnny began his political career by serving on Santa Clara County’s Human Relations Commission and the San José Small Business Development Commission. Out of his deep concern for the financial health of his beloved city, Johnny ran and was elected to the San José City Council in November 2012 and took office January 1, 2013. As the District 10 Councilmember, he represents the Almaden Valley and Blossom Hill areas of South San José. Johnny has been dedicated to fiscal responsibility, community engagement and Safety for who live in our city.

Johnny now serves on 17 committees (http://www.sjd10.com/committee-assignments.html) and frequently attends all neighborhood and community associations meetings in the District, as well as volunteering his time with organizations like Almaden Cares, Almaden Kiwanis, his sons’ Boy Scout troop and the Martin Fontana Parks Association.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

Organizations (2)

  • San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility

Elected Officials (1)

  • Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters (5)

What experience related to city government would you bring to the City Council?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

I have served as the San Jose District 10 City Councilmember for the past three years, and I believe that my focus on fiscal responsibility, building community pride, and the level of accessibility and accountability of me and my staff are ample reasons to re-elect me for four more years. In addition, I have also served on the City's Small Business Development Commission as well as the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission. My experience living and working in as well as representing the City qualifies me to serve in this position.

San Jose budget difficulties have resulted in unprecedented cuts to staff and services. How will you deal with coming shortfalls? Restoring some of the City services? And, if you think the City needs additional resources, what are your ideas for increasing revenues?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

To save the City money, I spearheaded the effort to open the southern police substation. This previously unopened city asset is now being used as a training facility for our police academy and also to house Community Service Officers, saving our city more than $542,000 per year. I restored the Employee suggestion program so that we can learn from our employees how to more efficiently provide services to our residents. This program is expected to save time and money. I also supported a dedicated sales tax to support pavement maintenance.

I would continue to streamline the City’s permitting process and provide accountability through more automated processes; continue to support business incentives for our Airport, large employers; and continue to develop other incentives to attract manufacturing and small businesses to stay and succeed in San Jose. 

I supported volunteerism and have worked with community leaders to adopt five parks in my district, and to supplement library staffing to allow libraries to be open six days a week. I have requested an evaluation of the Fire Department to determine if we can go to three-man crews in some areas to allow limited staffing to be better distributed. I have also used my own excess budget to open Almaden Lake Park on Mondays and to provide wireless Internet services to the Almaden Community Center.

To ensure we can provide core services, I would continue to seek additional efficiencies within the organization. After bonds are paid off, I would use the savings to continue to pay down unfunded pension liabilities.

I have successfully lobbied two mayors to spend millions of dollars on our street pavement needs, including more than $24 million for needed paving projects. I will continue to push for road maintenance dollars.

What concerns are of particular importance to the city and how would you address them?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

I have supported the construction of various housing projects as well as the temporary shelter program, which allows religious organizations to house and care for up to 15 homeless individuals with the hope of housing them permanently.

I have made strides in the areas of public safety, fiscal responsibility and community development in my time as City Councilmember, including the following:

Public Safety

  • Spearheaded the effort to open the southern police substation. This previously unopened city asset is now being used as a training facility for our police academy and also to house Community Service Officers, saving our city more than $542,000 per year.
  • Supported hiring of 54 Community Service Officers to carry out non-sworn duties, freeing up fully sworn officers to respond to emergencies.
  • Voted to increase the pay of SJPD officers to boost morale and improve retention of experienced officers.
  • Raised more than $15,000 for the San Jose Police Foundation to purchase mobile fingerprinting identification equipment
  • Successfully advocated for more license-plate readers (LPRs) for the Police Department.
  • Supported the roll-out of the Safe Communities Multi-Housing Pilot Program in the Hoffman Via-Monte area to encourage community-oriented policing and problem solving through partnerships between property owners, property managers, management staff, residents, police, and other government and community-based service providers.
  • Implemented crossing guards and speed bumps in school neighborhoods, the Walk-and-Roll program throughout neighborhood schools, improved crosswalks and new stop signs, new pedestrian signage, and more than 150 new ADA ramps throughout the District

Community Pride

  • Established new neighborhood associations 
  • Developed initiatives to help end the scourge of both illegal dumping and illegal fireworks in our community through the implementation of administrative fines
  • Established and hosted the inaugural and second District 10 July 4th Fun Festival at Almaden Lake with tens of thousands in attendance
  • Organized the community to conduct clean-ups for weed and brush control at the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park, which will be adopted by the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, saving thousands of our park maintenance budget annually.
  • Collaborated with Councilmembers budget $500,000 in City capital funds from the Parks Department to complete the Guadalupe-Los Alamitos Trails Master Plan
  • Took action to curb the wild pigs that plagued Almaden Valley by drafting an Urgency ordinance and had it passed with a super majority of the Council
  • Pushed for the successful implementation of pornography filters for the children’s section at the San Jose Public Libraries
  • Advocated for funding ($16 million the first year and $8 million the second year) for needed paving projects

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Guided the contract with OpenGov.com to increase the City’s financial transparency by allowing for the online release of City financial data
  • Provided more scrutiny over potentially costly lease revenue bonds, and changed the city ordinance so that a 2/3 vote would be needed to pass the bonds; also required that staff provide a worst-case scenario to avoid negative situations
  • Reduced the cost of permit fees by up to 40% for all small additions and home remodels.
  • Pushed for a new small-project desk for one-stop approvals on small, conforming building projects
How would you balance the needs of the City as a whole while also addressing needs of your district as well as those of special groups?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

I believe in managing my office like a company, dedicated to constituent needs and preparing for decisions. We aim to respond to constituent concerns within 3 business days. 

I have proposed many programs that positively affect both the District as well as the City as a whole, including stricter loan regulations to prevent future burdens on our children and avoid debts.

My goals for both the District and City include the following: 

Public Safety:

  • Support the opening of all fire stations in San Jose
  • Further develop and implement the Safe Communities Multi-Housing Pilot Program to reduce crime and support safer neighborhoods
  • Continue to support the expanded use of license plate readers to protect our streets and reduce crime.
  • Support increased disaster preparedness within the community and continue developing a disaster plan with volunteers and the Office of Emergency Services for the District
  • Continue to work with tenants and rental property providers to make the Hoffman Via Monte neighborhood safer and cleaner
  • Procure more funds to be spent on traffic and pedestrian safety near all schools
  • Advocate for the remaining funds necessary to beautify and make Chynoweth safer

Community Pride:

  • Continue to advocate for a trail connection from Los Alamitos Creek to Guadalupe Creek
  • Preserve and reopen the Old Almaden Vineyards building, which was California’s oldest winery (CA State Historical Landmark #505)
  • Encourage individuals, families and organizations to adopt all of the parks in District 10
  • Work with county leaders and San Jose staff to purchase and fund the widening of Branham to 4 lanes between Snell and Vista Park
  • Work with local service organizations to adopt and beautify the median on Almaden Expressway.
  • Acquire and build a community garden in the Martial Cottle Park in cooperation with County leaders
  • Work with Pioneer High School and San Jose Unified School District to provide new soccer fields for public use
  • Advocate for additional funds to resurface Meridian Ave, Calero Ave, Blossom Ave and Chesbro Ave
  • Establish new neighborhood associations in areas where there are none to inspire more District 10 leaders to actively participate in improving the community

Fiscal Responsibility: 

  • Obtain more dollars to be spent on core services including fixing our roads and potholes, and to open all City parks seven days a week
  • Continue to push for a better business environment to attract and retain small and large businesses
  • Continue to advocate for the streamlining and automation of processes within the City of San Jose Planning and Building Department, including self-permitting
  • Lead an effort between the Environmental Services Department, Building Department and County Health Department to streamline the permitting process for restaurants
  • Continue to champion congestion-relief projects on Highway 85, 87, and 101
How much money do you expect to raise/spend on your race, and how will you assure voters that financial contributions will not affect your decisions/positions should you be elected?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

My goal was to raise $70,000 and I have raised about $71,000 so far. I have about $50,000 on hand at this time. 

My door has been open to all points of view, and I have voted for and against people who have contributed to my previous and current campaign. I have recused myself from situations when there has been a conflict of interest. I have also refused to accept donations from some groups that have been involved in issues that have come before the City Council.

Political Beliefs

I have been committed to serving the needs of the District 10 community, partnering with you to build safe, healthy, and thriving neighborhoods.  With a focus on public safety, fiscal responsibility, and community pride, I have worked toward innovative solutions to the challenges facing our District and city. I am committed to the betterment of our community and the City of San Jose as a whole, ensuring this will be a place we can be proud of for generations to come!

Candidate Contact Info

Network Services Executive
5,026 votes (23.92%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Acknowledge the true magnitude of our loss of veteran Police & Fire personnel, while doing everything necessary to re-establish trust between the City at its current and future public servants
  • Bring a new understanding to San Jose' s elected leadership of the enormous cost of using legal action to resolve issues , such that this becomes the tool of absolute last resort
  • Ensure San Jose's Planning Department, and its committees are 100% committed to bringing Silicon Valley leadership to ensuring citizen diversity in stage of life, occupation, wealth, culture, etc. as we zone and develop for the future.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Network Services Executive
Founder & President, StreamLine Communications Corporation (1996–current)
Organizer, Hillside Amateur Radio & Emergency Response Group — Appointed position (2015–current)
Marketing Director, Product Marketing Manager/Engineer, National Semiconductor Corporation (1981–1996)

Education

ARRL VE FCC License (General Level) Call Sign: KK6TKB, UHF, VHF, HF Radio Technology, Application and Use (2015)
San Jose State University M.B.A., B.S. , Business Administration - Marketing Major, Advertising/Journalism Minor (1981)

Community Activities

Group Leader, Hillside San Jose Amateur Radio Training and Emergency Response Planning Team (2015–current)
Family Camp Organizer, Hillside San Jose (2005–current)

Biography

I declined to have my candidate information included in the voter infromation guide as the charge for this is $2,200.00 for 200 words...  Here's a couple of made up backgrounders of 400 words each:

Statement of J. MICHAEL SODERGREN, Candidate for Member, San Jose City Council, District 10

Occupation:  Network Services Executive                                   Age:  59 Education and Qualifications:


I am a lifetime Silicon Valley resident, 30-year resident of San Jose’s District 10, and first time Candidate for the Office of Council Member, District 10.   I have thought about serving my community in an official capacity for a long time, making the decision to run at the last minute. 
    

I’m running for office to help bring a global perspective into San Jose’s governance and problem solving process.  I’m running without taking or spending any money, to hopefully demonstrate that money can be voluntarily taken out of our political process by candidates who love their City, while reducing barriers for others to engage and run as well.
    

I am logging the experience of running for office in the hope that all our citizens will be interested in and inspired by this journey, and informed on how to do it.   It is important that our citizens show up and vote, not only because it is a right or out of a sense of responsibility to do the right thing, but because they believe that they can make a difference.  Because this is Silicon Valley, and we are beautifully diverse, we are comfortable with envisioning what we can do, do it, and then show the rest of the world how to do it too.
    

My candidacy journey began unsuccessfully by looking at the City’s website to see if there was a way to register online.  There is no process for the initial act of filing to run for office, or even the acquisition of all documents and instructions needed to run, so I picked up Nomination Petitions and related documents from the City Clerk’s Office at the end of the business day Tuesday March 8th.  Over the next 18 hours, I sought out and received 64 physical signatures from friends and neighbors who live within a cross section of District 10. 

Late in the afternoon Wednesday March 9th, I returned to City Hall and turned the petition signatures into the City Clerk, also signing a number of other documents.  One of those documents was The Code of Fair Campaign Practices within which is included point #7 which states that “I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified American voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process.”  And that is what I’m committed to do. 
    

I had to pay a mandatory $25.00 fee to file.  I was also asked if I wanted to provide 200 words about me for inclusion in the Voter Information Guide.  I declined this option as the the fee for this was $2,200.00, the first of many financial barriers to a candidate’s ability to run to represent the people of our City without money being a factor.  I received notice from the City that the County Registrar of Voters would be adding my name the June 7, 2016 Primary Ballot because I had submitted the required number of validated signatures (50).

$0.00 (amount paid by candidate for 400 words)

 

Statement of J. MICHAEL SODERGREN, Candidate for Member, San Jose City Council, District 10

Occupation:  Network Services Executive           Age:  59 Education and Qualifications:

 
The son of parents who were teachers that grew up in Iowa and Colorado, I learned many things, most importantly, the impact of working together to achieve great things.  Known by my middle name “Mike,” I’m the oldest of three children.  My sister is now in heaven and my brother and his family live in Concord.   My parent’s Sunnyvale tract home was bought in 1957 for 1/100th its current value and built within apricot and cherry orchards.
    
I studied at Fremont High, De Anza College, and SJSU where I served as the Graduate Assistant to the Dean of the School of Business receiving a MBA Cum Laude.   I managed a West San Jose based McDonalds through college
    
I worked in director level positions over a 15 year career at one of the world’s original semiconductor companies.  We launched many technological firsts in wired, wireless and multimedia that continue to shape our world. I had the honor of being invited to demonstrate the first PC based real-time interactive video applications at the Whitehouse.      
   
After this, I co-founded a multimedia networking service company.  Based on this work, we were contracted by the City of San Jose to design, build and operate network infrastructure, systems and services required by clients who have introduced and shown off world changing products and services within our downtown convention center, auditoriums, halls and theaters.  We did this for 15+ years, also working with Joint Venture Silicon Valley and 40 Bay Area municipalities to develop the Wireless Silicon Valley project that was designed as a JPA to provide free, seamless WiFi service from San Francisco to Morgan Hill, Fremont, Monterey and Santa Cruz.  In the end, our City decided to go its own way, but the vision was established. 
    
I have traveled extensively on business and in missionary service across the United States, and international locations including Europe, North/Central/ South America, Asia, Japan, Australia, Africa and most recently the Middle East.
    
My wife is a classically trained music teacher and community theater performing arts director.  The girl’s K-6 education was at Almaden Country, followed by SJUSD arts magnet Castellero Middle, Leland High, West Valley, De Anza, San Jose City and SJSU.  Our oldest daughter is a nurse at Valley Medical, and our youngest is a small business owner providing styling services for weddings and events.
   
As a 30-year District 10 Resident, I’m running for office to help bring a global perspective into San Jose’s governance and problem solving process.  I’m running without taking or spending any money, to hopefully demonstrate that money can be taken out of our political process. 

 

$0.00 (amount paid by candidate for 400 words)  

Who supports this candidate?

Individuals (1)

  • Every citizen, with equal weight.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters (5)

What experience related to city government would you bring to the City Council?
Answer from J. Michael Sodergren:

I am new to civic leadership, but not new to operational and personnel management for everything from the founding and running a small network services start up to manageing the staff of the largest, most profitable division of a Fortune 500 corporation.  I have served in various capacities in private sector, charitable non-profit organizations.

San Jose budget difficulties have resulted in unprecedented cuts to staff and services. How will you deal with coming shortfalls? Restoring some of the City services? And, if you think the City needs additional resources, what are your ideas for increasing revenues?
Answer from J. Michael Sodergren:

I have read San Jose's 1,100+ page Operational and Capital budget for 2015-2016, and the Mayor's Proposed Budget for 2016-2017, and we have a big problem that is not going away.  San Jose has ~190 open public safety positions open, and is relying on forced overtime to provide a overworked staff that has lost precious experience and confidence in San Jose's leadership.  I remain unconvinced that we could actually pay all 190 new sworn officers if they came back to us tomorrow.  San Jose has also lost a tremendous amount of sales tax revenue due to a number of factors, not the least of which being a dramatic increase in on-line purchases for which San Jose's box stores are loosing out.  Given that San Jose only receives $0.01 out of $0.0875 in sales tax, San Jose has three ways to reconcile its books.  

1) Manage its operating budget very tightly, most likely at the cost of an open ended and very costly deferral of critical maintenance projects, and negative public perspective of the City of San Jose's financial standing for a public safety department that is desperately trying to attract qualified recruits or transfer without even having salary parity for adjacent municipalities which also have open requesitions

2) Increase revenue through a combination of various fees and taxes relative to the attraction and establishment of new businesses within San Jose's boundaries, along getting voters to approve Measure B for an additional $40M per year from a $0.0025 sales tax.

3) Go after greater contribution from the Federal, State and County governments of the taxes paid by the citizens of San Jose, for services and infrastructure funding within San Jose...   

In general, I am very concerned with the ability of the current elected Council to do the people's work through collaboration versus litigation.  Even now, as the City has come to terms with its unions, saving $30B over 30 years, I have heard more than one person on the Council say that they had met with San Jose's Police Officers Association 24 times without coming up with an agreement on pension reform.  May question is why there wasn't a 25th and a 26th and any number of additional meetings that could have been the one meeting which would have avoided the loss of 1/3 of San Jose's most experienced sworn officers to other municipalities or early retirement.   Instead, all of this ended up in litigation that continues to this day by outsiders to San Jose's affairs who were once allied with some of the elected officials that are still governing.   I will not tire of trying to find a way forward without dumping our problems at the City Attorney's office.  This will save our City, the needless loss of moral and open ended wste of general fund dollars that we so desperately need going forward. 

What concerns are of particular importance to the city and how would you address them?
Answer from J. Michael Sodergren:

·          Public Safety:  We have ~190 open positions for SJPD, with virtually no chance that we will be able to hire and train this number of sworn officers this year.   The salaries and benefits we are offering are not at parity with adjacent municipalities, which also have open requisitions, and our vaunted Police Academy is having a very hard time attracting qualified candidates for the nearly one year of training that is required to ready an officer for duty in San Jose.   In addition, due to the loss of over 1/3 of our experienced personnel during the period of failed pension reform, our public safety and first responders are working massive hours of forced overtime that is quite frankly a ticking time bomb.  The problem is that we are not treating this as a crisis, and taking whatever actions are necessary to restore the attraction of being a San Jose Police Office to returning former employees, new recruits and transfers.  It is not clear to me that we really could fund the salary and benefits of 190 sworn officers is they showed up at our doorstep tomorrow, ready to go.   If we do not treat this as an emergency, we will not have the credibility with the people to do what needs to be done to get us out of danger. 

Environment:  We must commit to zero waste and close our landfills, and I am pledging to taking specific steps to “benefit the quality of life, the environment and related economic opportunities” by meeting Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan Goal MS -5, as authored in 2011 by then Councilperson and now Mayor Sam Liccardo, to “Divert 100% of waste from landfills by 2022” effectively transforming current landfill sites into environmentally neutral, neighborhood friendly community resources.

Housing:  As we seek for provide housing for our growing population, we simply must commit to maintaining housing that fits the diversity in age, occupation, culture and income of our citizens through relationships with a new breed of developer.  This will require a commitment to making sure that displacement of existing affordable housing includes plans for fully compensating those who are displaced, and providing an in-place option to return to the location where high density housing is developed.  We will need to go higher than five stories for this to work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How would you balance the needs of the City as a whole while also addressing needs of your district as well as those of special groups?
Answer from J. Michael Sodergren:

We are one City, represented by 10 districts of approximately 100,000 people with some unique needs, but completelhy artificial boaders.   In other words, we are truly in this together.  I was recently dealing with a landfill issue that some in the City (citizens and elected officials alike) have tried to define as an issue that only or primarily affects the people of District 10.  Allegedly due to complaints from some of their citizens about the smell from a landfill in San Jose's District 4, the City of Milpitas (our neighbor to the immediate North of us) contracted with the owner of a landfill company in District 10 to have their garbage disposed of at that landfill within District 10, the furthest possible point away from the  Milpitas'/San Jose boarder.  Rather than treating this issue as a District 10 versus Milpitas issue, we have embraced the notion that no one should have to be subject to odors, and one way to reversing the reasons for Milpitas' decision is to commit ourselves to cloing down ladfills by achieving the Envision San Jose 2040 goal of diverting 100% of all waste from our landfills by 2022.   This document was drafted by then Councilperson and now Mayor Sam Liccardo.  This is a tall order and potentially very expensive, but the people are very motivated to find a solution, so now is the time to go after this.  This has the potential to avoid any future litigation, while enabling us to focus on getting this done.  This is Silicon Valley where all things are possible.         

How much money do you expect to raise/spend on your race, and how will you assure voters that financial contributions will not affect your decisions/positions should you be elected?
Answer from J. Michael Sodergren:

$0.00...  I am taking no donations or endorsements.  I am doing this because I am committed to getting the influence of money and power brokers out of our governance.  
This has to start from the beginning, before someone is elected, and 3 things have to happen: 

o   Candidates must take no donations from anyone (not spend their own money)

o   Candidates must engage with organizations and people, but decline endorsements from orgnaizatins that want to spend funds on promoting a candidate

o   Candidates must demonstrate to others how to do this.

·       I believe that the concept of Zero Dollar campaigning is going to become the way we and others will elect our future leaders.  

Political Beliefs

I have been participating in formal and informal forums on multiple topics and have attended City Council Meetings for the past couple of months, and was most recently in the Mayor’s Office regarding how we are handling our solid waste, and the relationship between leadership, and the people.  I am comfortable that we have the personnel and resources to address the challenges before us in Ground Transportation, Aviation Services, Housing, Caring for our Seniors and the Homeless, Land and Business Development, Parks and Recreation, Environment, Public Safety, Fire & Emergency Services, and everything else that falls under the auspicious of local government.  It is less certain that we are fully representing the interests of the people.  Unfortunately, in this time of great change, some voices who do not represent the best interests of the people of San Jose are having a disproportionate impact on the decisions being made regarding the future of our City.    

I have read the City’s prevailing 1,100+ page 2015-2016 Operating and Capital Budget, along with the Mayor’s Proposed Operating Budget for 2016-2017.   With a combined total of approximately $3 Billion in Capital and Operating spending, our City, the nation’s 10th largest, has the operating funds, assets, employees (~6,000) and relationships with the private sector and NGO’s to get the job done.

 

Our overriding issue as a City starts with a question.  What do we want to look like by the year 2040?   To address issues involving our housing, transportation, education, public safety, etc., we need to ask if we want to be a City that is diverse in our age groups, education, careers, ethnicity, and culture?   I believe that the answer to this question must be, yes.   Like many of you, I have traveled all over the world, and I can tell you that we are blessed to live here.  There is no other place like, California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Jose specifically.   On any given day, we can see the very best mix of conservative and progressive thinking coming together to solve really tough problems.  I believe that the picture of our future needs to include teachers, carpenters, accountants, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, electrical and mechanical engineers, software developers, doctors, nurses, seniors, middle-aged, young families, singles, teenagers, and children living side-by-side here, not on the periphery, or the outside. 

San Jose City Council Candidate Pledge:  Zero Waste/Landfill Diversion & Conversion ​

Summary

To address the underlying issues of having landfills located in close proximity to residential neighborhoods, schools, etc., I have authored a pledge to take all necessary steps to achieve Envision San Jose's 2040 General Plan goal of diverting 100% of ours and neighboring municipalities' waste from San Jose's remaining landfills by 2022.  I have challenged all candidates for San Jose City Council to sign this pledge as there is little to no evidence that the City's budget and operating departments are likely to meet this goal without this pledge.

As a Candidate for San Jose City Council, I hereby pledge to the people of San Jose to represent the interests of my District and all the people in San Jose by taking specific steps to “benefit the quality of life, the environment and related economic opportunities” by meeting the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan Goal MS -5, as authored in 2011 by then Councilperson and now Mayor San Liccardo, to “Divert 100% of waste from landfills by 2022” effectively transforming current landfill sites into environmentally neutral, neighborhood friendly, community resources. 

I furthermore pledge to meet the following interim goals relative to landfill and waste and recycle operations and logistics with all individuals, companies and other organizations under the jurisdiction of the City of San Jose:

1.     Neighborhood friendly hours of operation relative to:

1.     Rest, weekend recreation, and holidays

2.     Roadway congestion, noise and other impacts

3.     Pedestrians walkway use, with a specific focus on the health and safety of our seniors, children and the disabled

2.     Neighborhood friendly operational management of:

1.     Hazardous airborne dust and general particulates, toxic gas and odor emissions

2.     Rodents, birds and other wildlife attracted to/affected by waste processing sites

3.     Chemical and/or biological byproduct releases into waterways, lakes, percolation ponds, natural springs and aquifers, and the Bay

4.     Incidental debris outside the landfill resulting from wind, materials loss in transit, etc.

3.     Neighborhood friendly health and safety services and infrastructure:

1.     Multipath access to all residences and business for everyday use

2.     Multipath access to all residences and business for public safety and first responders

I furthermore pledge that I will work with my fellow Councilmembers and the Mayor to direct code and law enforcement personnel and any supporting departments to ensure that all municipal and regional code, plus State and Federal laws relative to the operation of landfills, and related offsite activities including but not limited to the bringing of materials to and from landfills, are vigorously and evenly enforced across all operators of landfills and their employees and contractors within San Jose’s jurisdiction. 

I will ensure that all the people of San Jose will have access to real-time reporting of the level of compliance and community satisfaction with each landfill operator, their conveyance operators and all related parties, and that progress against our zero waste goal will be reported to City Council each month, with a commitment to achieving very short term resolution and remedies for all violations.  Each department of the City will report on its contribution to meeting our zero waste landfill conversion and closure goals.

I further pledge that I will work with all interested professional waste management a recycling companies, along with our local universities and any other parties with viable ideas for ensuring that proposed models for achieving the aforementioned pledge commitments can be achieved without a negative impact to prevailing core services and systems as described with the City’s operating and capital budget priorities.

J. Michael Sodergren

Candidate San Jose Council Member-District 10

 

 

Videos (2)

Check out this video by the candidates for City Council in San Jose regarding the protection of our greenbelt from constant re-zoning for developers.  We absolutely must figure out how to develop within our urban core without displacing people while ending sprawl and preserving places like Coyote Valley for future generations.  This is a test of the people's will over developers.

— May 25, 2016 J.C. Wang Ph.D.

This video will move you as to what's at stake for San Jose if we fail to do whatever it takes to help the Mayor to achieve Goal MS-5 of the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan he authored and "Divert 100% of waste from landfills by 2022"   The video include beautiful time lapsed photography of an area of San Jose known as the Almaden Valley, and the need to prevent adding refuse from neighboring cities to the Guadalupe Landfill which is embeeded within an area of dense residential development.

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