City Council Preview – Affordable Housing, Lobbyist Fees & More

By Robert Haugh

At tomorrow’s City Council meeting, the most discussed item is likely to be affordable housing.

The proposed ordinance recommends:

  • Increasing the inclusionary requirement to 15 percent for rental residential;
  • Setting up an in-lieu fee at $20 per square foot for rental residential; and
  • Setting up a phase implementation so that the total fee levels are not applicable until 12 months after adoption of the ordinance.


Charter Review Committee Recommendations

Charter Review Committee Recommendations are to:

  • Elect City Council Members by two districts (e.g. District 1 and 2) with three Council Members representing each district.
  • Elect the three Council Members at the same time per district alternating/staggering between gubernatorial and presidential election years.
  • Utilize Single Transferable Vote, a form of Ranked Choice Voting, as soon as the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Office can support such a system – continue with the City’s current voting method of plurality until the County can support the new voting method.
  • In 2018, elect two members to four-year terms in District 1;
  • In 2020, elect one member to a two-year term in District 1 and three members to four-year terms in District 2.
  • Change the voting method of the Mayor, City Clerk, Chief of Police, to match the recommended voting method of Council Members beginning in 2020 with the election of the City Clerk and Chief of Police, and then subsequent elections thereafter.
  • Direct the City Manager and the Interim City Attorney to initiate the process to draw the districts with public outreach.
  • Provide further direction regarding administrative charter amendments and future work plan items for the Charter Review Committee.

Lobbyist Ordinance

The Council will consider:

  • increasing the annual registration fee to $640,
  • adding a registration fee of $120 to amend filings,
  • adding a client registration fee at $100 per client.

The changes are being requested to recover costs of enforcing the ordinance. According to the staff report, $22,769 in cost recovery fees were generated during the 2017 registration period, but a cost study prepared by the Finance Department has determined annual administrative costs for the program of approximately $30,500.

Other Items

Citti’s Florist and Intel Corporation will be recognized with proclamations for their years of involvement in the community as part of the City’s Business Recognition Program.



  1. RE: Charter Review Committee Recommendations, clear as mud to me.

    These actions seem to assume we have districts identified and approved by election time. That would pretty much require the districts are approved in the primary election. Can a charter change be approved on a primary ballot? I didn’t think it could. If not, then you can’t vote to approve districts and elect by districts on the same ballot, right?

    Change the voting method of the Mayor, City Clerk, Chief of Police, to match the recommended voting method of Council Members… does that refer to ranked choice voting, when it is available?

    Inquiring minds want to know….

    • Hey Howard!

      “Can a charter change be approved on a primary ballot?” Yes, since there is pending litigation. Otherwise, no. So, to be more explicit, the only charter change that would appear on the June 2018 ballot would be changing the method of election of councilmembers. Changing how we elect our Mayor, Chief of Police and City Clerk would go on the November 2018 ballot.

      So, if the ballot measure passes in June 2018, then the Nov 2018 race would then apply the new changes. Keep in mind that it would only enact the districting change, and not apply Ranked Choice Voting since the Registrar of Voters will still not be able to support that election method until the 2020 race. So, Nov 2018 would be 2 councilmembers in District 1, elected by a plurality (each voter gets 2 votes, all candidates listed on one ballot question, top 2 vote getters win the seats).

      As to your 2nd question, yes, that refers to ranked choice voting (RCV). Since the Registrar of Voters cannot support RCV until 2020 (the new systems are planned to be operational in 2019), the election in Nov 2020 would be the first opportunity to do that. In 2020, we will be voting for Chief of Police and City Clerk, and in 2022 we will be voting for Mayor. So the Mayoral race in 2018 will continue as it always has, which is a plurality vote (each voter gets 1 vote, all candidates listed on one ballot question, top 1 vote getter wins the Mayoral seat).

      Make sense?

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