Council Preview – Last Meeting Before Summer Break Has Loaded Agenda

Council Preview – Last Meeting Before Summer Break Has Loaded Agenda

By Robert Haugh

There is quite a lot to tackle at the July 18 Council meeting since the next Council meeting isn’t until August 22.

With closed session starting at 4 p.m., another long meeting is set. One thing we may hear is an announcement on the selection of a new City Manager. It’s on the closed session agenda.

Minimum Wage

The most controversial item will be a discussion about the City’s minimum wage. This is a battle between labor and the local business community, and a tough test for the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Organization, the former San Jose Chamber, that’s making moves in Santa Clara now. This was the issue that Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta erupted over last week.

The proposal by City is to increase the Santa Clara minimum wage to $13/hour on January 1, 2018; then to $15/hour on January 1, 2019. “Economic triggers would provide an option to delay implementation of the minimum wage increases if a severe recession occurs during the ramp-up period.” Maximum annual increases are capped at five percent.

New Districts, Elections

Another controversial topic will be the Charter Review Committee’s recommendations for a revised election system. The Committee has recommended:

  • electing the three Council Members at the same time per district alternating between gubernatorial and presidential election years;
  • electing City Council Members by two districts – with three Council Members representing each district;
  • introducing ranked choice voting as soon as the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Office can support such a system;
  • creating a transition period that would see two members elected in 2018 to four-year terms in District A, and, in 2020, one member elected to a two-year term in District A and three members to four-year terms in District B.

This is a pretty complicated recommendation. We’re interested to hear if this is what it takes to avoid the threat of litigation.

International Swim Center

A study session will provide update on the International Swim Center, Community Recreation Center and International Swimming Hall of Fame Project, with a presentation by Project Finance Advisory Limited (PFAL). The project has been a heavy conversation topic in the community for weeks as a telephone survey asked about a potential tax to help fund the project. While it appears to be an amazing project that will replace several antiquated facilities, many residents have already voiced their displeasure at the idea of new taxes. We would like more details on the community recreation center theater component and if that facility will be available to community groups for events.

Historic Preservation Ordinance

The Council will weigh in on creating a Historic Preservation Ordinance, which could help eliminate several lengthy discussions on proposed projects in “protected” neighborhoods.

Stadium Authority Meetings

The Council will likely approve setting separate Stadium Authority meetings. The proposed dates are Thursday, August 24 and Tuesdays, September 19; October 17, November 14 and December 12. This was something Interim City Manager Rajeev Batra said the City Charter wouldn’t allow. Interim City Attorney Brian Doyle clarified that separate meetings could indeed be held. These meetings will allow more detailed discussions of of Levi’s Stadium operations.


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