A Better San Jose
David Pandori Candidate
It’s about tomorrow.
A Better San Jose
by David Pandori
As a neighborhood leader,
David Pandori championed
the Guadalupe River Park.
As a former San Jose City
Councilmember he helped create
the City’s Ethics Commission.
As a Deputy District Attorney he
has prosecuted gang members.
David and his wife Catherine have
two children and live in downtown
San Jose. They have lived on the
same street for 20 years.
Join David’s campaign for a
better San Jose by visiting
From David Pandori
A Better San Jose
I wasn’t born into power. I don’t come from a wealthy family. I worked my
way through San Jose State University as a cook and as a janitor. (The best
part of being a janitor was meeting my wife, Catherine.) I went on to graduate
school in city planning at U.C. Berkeley and then to law school.
As a resident I championed the Guadalupe River Park, and led a
successful drive to obtain $14 million for the park. From 1991-1998 I served
as a member of the San Jose City Council, representing the diverse downtown
district. After leaving the City Council I continued public work as a Deputy
District Attorney and I helped form our neighborhood association.
During the last eight years, I have prosecuted most every kind of criminal
case—from gang members to drug dealers. I’ve stood alone in front of juries
putting on evidence of tragic crimes in an effort to bring justice to
victims and criminals. I prosecuted a judge for ﬁxing trafﬁc tickets for his
friends and sports ﬁgures. I believe in justice for all, and that no one is above
I’ve followed the scandals at City Hall—the corrupt contracts they
approved and the City Hall cost over-runs. I’ve learned about the decision-making
behind closed doors, and the year-round fundraising, some of it secret. More
recently, I’ve read about the calls for reform, some belated, others hypocritical,
and others desperately needed.
It’s been a disgrace.
During all the scandals and arguing, our leaders stopped thinking about our
city’s future. That problem has carried itself into the mayor’s race. The campaign
for mayor is crowded with candidates, but it is lacking in vision. This small book
is about making San Jose better. It’s a book about the future— tomorrow. This is
a book about thinking a generation ahead, not just four years ahead.
I believe in vibrant neighborhoods and good planning. As a prosecutor, I
know we can take on the gang problem in San Jose by creating stronger part-
nerships with our schools, the county, community groups, and law enforcement.
We need a new vision of a city with great parks and 100 miles of connected
creek trails. And I will put our City on a 25-year savings plan to create an en-
dowment for the next generation to fund their dreams for San Jose.
I believe in standing up for what is right. I believe in changing things for the
better. I believe in leadership. I intend to bring San Jose back to the great future
it deserves. I know we can do that together. I believe in a better San Jose and
that’s why I’m running for mayor.
David Pandori, April, 2006
A Better San Jose
1 Great Neighborhoods 1
Help Neighborhoods that Need it the Most 2
Involving Neighborhoods 3
Lobbyists vs. Neighborhoods 4
Honest Planning 5
2 Better Planning—Better Neighborhoods 7
Why Care When It’s Not in Your Backyard 7
Better Before Bigger 8
3 Three Bad Plans 11
Coyote Valley 12
The Evergreen Vision Strategy 13
North San Jose 17
A Better Future—Healthy Growth 19
4 Taking On Gangs 23
Tools for Fighting Gangs 23
Understanding the Problem 24
Publicizing Gang Registration Information 24
Gang Injunctions 26
Funding for Gang Investigation 27
Gang Members on Probation and Parole 28
Tougher Sentencing 29
A New Joint Powers Agency to Take On Gangs 29
5 A Legacy Of Parks 31
A New Vision 31
Table of Contents
Parks Charter Fund 31
Three Major Projects 32
Connecting our Creek Trails 32
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens 36
The County Fairgrounds 37
6 The Next Generation—Saving For The Future 39
An Endowment for the Next Generation 39
Benjamin Franklin and Municipal Endowments 39
Saving Money vs. Wasting Money 40
7 Reforming City Government 44
My Record 44
New Sunshine Laws 44
Restore Checks and Balances—City Charter Review 47
Eliminate Ofﬁceholder Fundraising 48
Reforming the Development Review Process 48
8 Retroactive Sunshine 51
The Cisco-Telephone Contract Scandal 51
The Norcal-Garbage Scandal 52
9 My School Is My City 55
Homework Centers , After-School Programs 55
Community Centers At Schools 55
School Playgrounds are the Parks 56
Taking On Gangs 56
Inspiring Youth with the Arts 56
Mayor: A Voice for Education 57
Pandori for Mayor
My wife Catherine and I live in downtown San Jose. Both of our
families live in San Jose and moved here about 30 years ago.
We like being downtown. There’s a lot of variety. A few blocks away is
Japantown. Nearby is the Hensley Historic District, a neighborhood of old
Victorians and a historic residential district. The Northside Neighborhood
has the oldest neighborhood association in San Jose. We enjoy the variety
of festivals in the downtown. It’s great being within walking distance of the
downtown business district and the up and coming Guadalupe River Park.
The downtown has the potential of becoming everyone’s neighborhood.
Our ﬁrst place was a small condominium. Like most everyone we hoped
to get our own house someday. We found it down the same street.
Our house was built in 1920. It needed a lot of work when we bought
it, but that’s why we were able to afford it. None of the toilets worked, the
bathtub didn’t drain. The foundation was sinking, the roof was leaking, and
the electrical was out of date. The backyard garage was falling, and the
yard was a mess. With my family’s help, we ﬁxed a lot of things ourselves.
We’ve lived on the same street downtown now for 20 years. Our
house has become our home. Our neighborhood has changed too. Houses
have been ﬁxed-up, younger families have moved in, and there is
a growing neighborhood association here.
I believe in great neighborhoods. Making a neighborhood great has
nothing to do with wealth or expensive homes. Great neighborhoods are
places where people know each other and help each other. Great neighbor-
hoods are places that are safe, places where you want your kids to grow
up, and places where you make life-long friends. Every neighborhood, rich
or poor, in San Jose has that potential. Every neighborhood has
Government can help, but it starts with and ends with the residents.
When I was on the city council in the 1990s that was my philosophy.
I represented diverse neighborhoods. My goal was simple—make the
power of city hall available to any group of residents who wanted to
make their neighborhood better. I believed that neighborhoods
should be able to set their own goals and priorities.
Pandori for Mayor
We did that in the Guadalupe-Washington neighborhood. We did that
in the neighborhoods around San Jose State University. We closed an al-
leyway that was a problem. We shut down problem liquor stores and bars.
We got rid of drug dealers in neighborhoods and at parks like Roosevelt
Park on East Santa Clara Street. We helped residents get gangs off their
streets. We rebuilt dilapidated streets. New housing was built in neigh-
borhoods that needed reinvestment. We involved neighbors in weekend
clean-ups, painting out grafﬁti, cleaning up parks and planting trees. “We”
were volunteers, neighborhood leaders, police ofﬁcers, parks employees,
community workers, mothers, fathers and kids.
Help Neighborhoods that Need it the Most
I’m a believer that San Jose is only as strong as its weakest
neighborhood. Not all neighborhoods in San Jose are equal.
San Jose’s Strong Neighborhoods Initiative is a program to establish
neighborhood redevelopment areas. (To see a copy of the SNI plan go to
www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “SNI Redevelopment Plan.”)
The initiative covers 22 different neighborhoods and about 260,000
residents. Its purpose is powerful—use redevelopment funds for
improvements like better parks, streets, and community centers.
After a slow start, this effort has started to pay off with valuable
improvements in neighborhoods throughout the city. I proposed a
similar concept in 1997. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click
on “Neighborhood Redevelopment Proposal.”
There has been recent talk to spread the Strong Neighborhoods
Initiative to the entire city. While this might be politically popular to do,
it wouldn’t be honest. Neighborhood redevelopment areas can only be
established in “blighted” neighborhoods. Not every San Jose neighborhood
is blighted, including some neighborhoods already in the plan.
I believe the current Strong Neighborhoods Initiative should be better
focused. We need to do more for the neighborhoods that need the most
help. In my work as a prosecutor taking on gang cases and other crime,
I’ve seen another side to this city. There are neighborhoods in San Jose
with severe problems. The Strong Neighborhoods Initiative should focus
on our weakest neighborhoods ﬁrst.
Pandori for Mayor
I believe that residents should be involved early on in new
development proposals for their neighborhood. Early involvement helps
everyone. Early input allows a developer to hear community concerns at the
beginning before spending money on detailed development plans. Early
involvement gives residents a chance for meaningful involvement.
I will put understandable development plans and drawings on the city
website, because not everyone can attend a neighborhood meeting. It’s time
to display life-like, three-dimensional models of projects on the web too.
Helping Neighborhood Associations.
Neighborhood associations are vital. They connect people. They help
set priorities for a neighborhood. They help accomplish things that one
resident acting alone cannot. Some residents have suggested the city
should create a Neighborhood Commission to focus on neighborhood
issues throughout the city. That’s an idea worth exploring.
I believe the city should do more to help neighborhood associations.
There are areas in the city without any neighborhood associations. I will
see to it that our city staff helps get associations off the ground in the
neighborhoods that need community involvement. And I will listen to
what each association has to say.
In my own experience, strong neighborhoods do more than just meet;
they help each other. While I was on the city council, my ofﬁce helped
neighborhood residents on a project we called the Beautiﬁcation and
Barbeque Corp. We cleaned-up and beautiﬁed neighborhoods, parks,
vacant lots and streets. It was a regular event. I plan to do this on a bigger
scale throughout the city. You can check out pictures from some of our
past projects at www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “Beautiﬁcation
Respecting the public at city council meetings.
The current mayor and city council have imposed a hard and fast rule
regarding time limits for members of the public. I’ll change that. People
who come down to city hall to speak are commonly treated disrespectfully.
They’re ignored and treated like a nuisance. The people in our city deserve
better and I’ll make sure they get better treatment.
Pandori for Mayor
Lobbyists vs. Neighborhoods
Lobbyists sometimes have more inﬂuence on neighborhoods than
residents do. The council recently changed a long-standing rule limiting
the places selling liquor, by allowing gas stations to sell beer and wine.
I’m not aware of any residents complaining about a shortage of
convenient places to buy alcohol. When I was on the council I dealt
with complaints about just the opposite. We successfully closed
some of the worst ones. See www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on
“Charlie’s Liquors” and “Rowdy Bar Closes.”
In 2005 some lobbyists representing a gas station had a different idea.
They wanted to change the law so their clients could sell beer and liquor.
The city council eventually voted for a change. Go to www.BetterSanJose.
com/book, click on “Council Agenda 12-06-05”. The Police Chief strongly
opposed changing the law. Click on “Planning Dept. and Police Chief
Memo” and go toward the end of the memo. The council ignored advice
from the city attorney’s ofﬁce about the inability of the city to enforce
certain supposed protections in the city ordinance. Click on “Staff Memo
9-30-05.” Further, the change was contrary to input the council received
from residents participating in the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative.
The law included some strange ideas. While liquor-selling businesses
were prohibited in certain blighted areas, they could still be allowed if the
neighborhood was “underserved” by liquor businesses. Another exception
would be if liquor sales would “enhance or facilitate the vitality of an
existing commercial area.” See www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on
“Liquor Ordinance” and read section 1 and section 2 on page 3.
The city council gave the lobbyists what they wanted. I’m not against
liquor sales, but there was no need to expand sales to gas stations. As a
prosecutor I’ve seen the tragedy of drunk driving. I don’t see why the city
needed to loosen city laws over the advice of the Police Chief.
Honest Planning—The Ballpark
Good planning means being honest with people. A case in point is
the proposed ballpark. The city has no commitment from a team, but is
moving ahead with plans for a ballpark. And while the city hasn’t ofﬁcially
approved any site for the stadium, they’ve already spent millions of
dollars on buying land. That’s not being honest with residents.
Pandori for Mayor
Before completing any studies, or considering alternative sites, the city
council voted to buy private property for the new baseball park. The city
spent $5.7 million for one property alone (the Stephen’s Sausage Plant)
ignoring city law that requires a public vote before spending public money
on a ballpark. City ofﬁcials justiﬁed the purchase saying that the land could
be used for high-density housing if the ballpark wasn’t approved.
I worked on the planning for the San Jose Arena when I was a senior
advisor to Mayor Tom McEnery. We took a better approach with the
San Jose Arena. Three separate sites were studied for trafﬁc, parking
and environmental impacts. The public participated in the entire
process. No land was purchased at any site until one had been
approved after a thorough public discussion.
This city council has taken the opposite approach—buy land ﬁrst, don’t
study any alternative sites, and belatedly invite the public to participate.
I’ll change that. I will not support further land acquisition or spending
until there is a public vote in support of the stadium. I think it would be
premature to go to the voters with any proposal until the city has a ﬁrm
commitment from a major league baseball team to come to San Jose and
until there is an affordable funding plan for the stadium. And I won’t waste
money on land and trafﬁc studies until there is some level of interest
actually expressed by a major league team owner in coming to San Jose.
I will work with major league baseball to explore their interest in San
Jose. I will meet with the commissioner of major league baseball. I will
meet with any interested owner. But I won’t do it like our current mayor,
whose efforts have been limited to standing in a parking lot at a spring
training site in Arizona, and holding up misspelled signs for whatever
group of reporters happen to show up. That’s not how a great city attracts
a baseball team.
Pandori for Mayor
Better Planning—Better Neighborhoods
For the last 24 years, our city has believed in growth, but the kind of
growth that makes San Jose better, not just bigger. I believe in growth.
We must attract job growth on the land that has been set aside for it. We
must ﬁll the vacant ofﬁce space and industrial space in our city. Our city
budget has a $35 million dollar deﬁcit, and the only long-term ﬁx is to
attract job growth. I support new housing, but not plans so intense and
thoughtless that our highways and streets are overwhelmed.
The current city council is overturning long-established plans that
allowed sensible growth. They are planning two new residential cities
—one to the north, one to the south. They are planning to convert
land preserved for 10,000 future jobs. While 11 million square feet of
ofﬁce space sits empty, they approved a plan to build a massive new
downtown, ﬁve times the size of the existing one, at the far north
end of our city.
When all these plans move forward, our neighborhoods will suffer.
Pressed to serve over 150,000 new residents without equal job growth
or needed tax revenues, police ofﬁcers will be stretched thin, park
maintenance will get even worse, and streets will be clogged with
cars and potholes. As existing neighborhoods are neglected, some will
take a turn for the worse.
The current city council has lost sight of these principles.
Why Care When It’s Not in Your Backyard
In the 1970s, San Jose was the nation’s fastest growing big city. In
1970, the city’s population was 446,000. At the end of the decade, the city’s
population had grown to 630,000. But San Jose’s growth was not balanced.
The new growth came with unintentional consequences: today’s trafﬁc
problems, a weak city budget, and inner neighborhoods that suffered.
Housing to the South, Jobs to the North: A major weekday commute
was created between the homes on the south and east and the jobs in
the north and west. In that decade of planning, we still ﬁnd the roots of
today’s trafﬁc problems—overcrowded freeways and an inefﬁcient transit
system. Frustrated commuters spill over daily onto neighborhood streets,
changing a quiet neighborhood into a regular detour.
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Budget Problems: From the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, San
Jose became the bedroom community for Silicon Valley—a city
with lots of housing, but not lots of jobs. The result put San Jose
in a persistent ﬁnancial bind. Businesses provide more in taxes
than they require in services, and housing does just the opposite.
Today San Jose has less tax revenue per resident than our neighboring
cities. A report by the California State Controller in 2003 showed how much
tax revenue San Jose had per resident compared to other nearby cities:
San Jose $254
Mountain View $403
Santa Clara $480
Palo Alto $517
For San Jose, these ﬁgures translate into community centers without
staff, program cuts for seniors, teens and children, shorter library hours,
parks with weeds, and streets with potholes. It’s not just our imagina-
tions that other cities look better and offer more services to their citizens.
Existing Neighborhoods Suffered: Like many cities across Amer-
ica, as San Jose sprawled outward, the city’s older neighborhoods
suffered. Thousands of new homes were built in the outlying areas,
but there was little new construction in the inner city. Property val-
ues deteriorated in relation to the brand new homes, schools and re-
tail centers being built. Many of those who could move out did.
The growth of the 1960s and 1970s changed decision-making in city
government over the next decades.
Better Before Bigger
In 1974, Janet Gray Hayes was elected the first female mayor
of a major American city. She brought a new philosophy of growth—
make San Jose better before bigger. She oversaw the adoption of a
modern and effective master plan for the city.
Mayor Tom McEnery continued the support for an era of managed
growth during his term. He declared that “San Jose should start grow-
ing up, and stop growing out.” A new emphasis on downtown renewal
and inﬁll housing allowed the city to continue to grow while bringing
more jobs and tax revenue to the city.
Mayor Susan Hammer continued the city philosophy of planned
growth. She established an “Urban Growth Boundary” around the city. In
Coyote Valley and south Almaden Valley, controls were kept and strength-
ened to stop premature development of the area. Mayor Hammer retained
an emphasis on job growth and was instrumental in attracting companies
like Cisco and Adobe to San Jose.
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Three Bad Plans
The current city council has lost track of the 24-year strategy under
three different mayors for growth in San Jose. In three areas of the
city—the Coyote Valley, Evergreen, and North San Jose—the council has
abandoned good ideas about healthy growth.
Coyote Valley—A Plan Funded by Developers, For Developers and to
be Voted on by Developers.
About Coyote Valley
Coyote Valley is the largest single area of undeveloped land in San
Jose. Located at the southern end of the city, it is a separate valley from
the rest of San Jose, covering 7,000 acres from San Jose to Morgan Hill.
Highway 101 runs along its eastern boundary.
Development controls have been in place since the 1980s to make
sure the area would not develop before San Jose was ready to support new
In 1984 a consensus was achieved. Coyote Valley would be off-limits
for residential development. Consistent with IBM’s existing Santa Teresa
lab, the north end of the valley would be preserved for a high-tech
company, but not just any company—a large company seeking to
consolidate its facilities into a single campus.
The rest of Coyote Valley was split into two separate areas. A greenbelt
would be created at the far southern end. The middle part of Coyote would
be a future residential community that would only be built when the rest
of San Jose was built out and needed highway lanes were built.
In the 1990s three new development controls were added to Coyote
Valley. First, the council decided no new residential development should
be planned until the city’s budget was projected to be running surpluses,
not deﬁcits. Second, studies would have to show that city services could
be provided there without dropping below existing levels in the rest of the
city. Third, no new development would be planned without a comprehensive
review of the city’s entire master plan. See www.BetterSanJose.com/book,
click on “General Plan on Coyote Valley.”
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The Mayor and the City Council
Ignoring these rules, on June 26, 2001 the Mayor and the city coun-
cil proposed to begin planning for residential development in Coyote
Valley. But the city wasn’t ready under the rules. The budget faced a
deﬁcit. City services were getting worse. No major update to the city’s
master plan was proposed.
The San Jose Planning Commission, a citizen advisory committee,
recommended against the rushing ahead and changing the rules. San Jo-
se’s Planning Director opposed the mayor’s plan too. The Director wrote:
“Triggering development sooner will raise expectations of landowners and
increase the pressure for housing before the tax base is established in the
North Coyote Valley Campus Industrial area. Opening up the Mid-Coyote
Valley to housing will place demands on all City services and facilities,
potentially affecting service delivery to existing neighborhoods.” Go to
www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “Planning Director’s Report 6-26-
Despite these recommendations, the mayor and council eliminated
the rules and voted to begin development planning in Coyote Valley. It all
happened in an afternoon session of the city council. The council voted in
favor again on November 20, 2001. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book,
click on “Mayor’s Proposal 11-20-01” and “Minutes 11-20-01.”
On August 20, 2002 the Mayor proposed who would be on the com-
mittee to write the plan for Coyote Valley. It was stacked with de-
velopers, property owners, and business and construction interests.
No neighborhood representatives were appointed to the task force.
No one on the city council objected.
The mayor speciﬁcally asked the city council for authority to con-
sider weakening controls for allowing development itself in Coy-
ote Valley, including the triggers that required job growth ﬁrst and
a stable city budget. The council unanimously approved giving
the committee the go ahead to work on eliminating the rules.
The city council approved accepting money for the Coyote Valley study
from the developers who wanted to change the rules. Mayor Gonzales asked
the council for the power to help select the planning consultant who would
run the study. (This power was typically left exclusively to the city man-
ager, who would recommend a consultant without the interference of the
mayor or city council.) The council unanimously approved both of these
Pandori for Mayor
actions as well. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “Speciﬁc
Plan Memo 8-20-02” and “Minutes 8-20-02 Speciﬁc Plan Approval.”
Not surprisingly, the Coyote Valley planning committee has moved
forward with a proposal from the mayor in support of the changes that
Coyote Valley developers and interests wanted all along—allow immediate
urban sprawl in Coyote Valley. The requirement that job growth occur
ﬁrst would be dropped. The requirement that development should not
occur until the city’s budget could afford the development was also
proposed to be dropped.
The city proposes to develop Coyote Valley without any new highways.
There has been talk of an extension of the light rail system from the Santa
Teresa area, but there is no funding to do the work. 11 million square feet
of existing ofﬁce and industrial space sits empty within our existing city.
Property remains in the existing city to support new housing. The time
has come to stop the ﬂawed planning in Coyote.
The Evergreen Vision Strategy—Secret Planning, Bargaining Away
the Future, Losing Job Growth and Weakening Trafﬁc Policies.
This is the story of a plan that started off with secret discussions,
escaping community involvement. It is the story of a plan paid for with $8.8
million of developer money. It is the story of pressuring residents to give
up trafﬁc protections in exchange for a wish list of community projects. It
is a story of bargaining away land planned for future job growth. And it is
a story of how decisions that affect the whole city are left in the hands of
a few people.
The Origins—the Berryessa/Evergreen Land Swap
In the early 1980s, city planners developed a plan for the Berryessa
and Evergreen areas. Land in Berryessa planned for job growth was
switched to housing. And land planned for housing in Evergreen was
re-planned for a high-tech campus. The proposal allowed the city to put
housing closer to jobs in Berryessa, and future jobs closer to housing in
Evergreen. The housing in the Berryessa area was built, but job growth
still has not come to Evergreen. However, thousands of new houses have
been built in Evergreen. In the 1990s the Evergreen Development Policy
was adopted. This policy controls the amount of residential development
that can occur in Evergreen based on trafﬁc capacity.
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In 2002, part owners of the Evergreen high-tech campus property,
Legacy Partners, retained a lobbyist to get the city to approve housing
development on their industrial land. In November, 2002 the district
councilmember held a meeting with the property owners and residential
developers in a private meeting at City Hall. The purpose of the meeting
was to discuss weakening the Evergreen Development Policy.
Two more private meetings were held. In December, 2002 the district
councilmember laid out a “wish list” of amenities, such as trails, sports
ﬁelds, skate park, library expansion, freeway and other transportation
improvements. In January 2003 it was agreed that the developers would
pay for a trafﬁc study to determine whether thousands of unplanned
housing units could be built without signiﬁcant trafﬁc impacts.
A Failure of Open Government
In February 2003 the proposed trafﬁc study was added late to the
city council agenda. The item wasn’t described very clearly. It was
called “Adoption of Appropriation and Funding Source Resolution
Amendments in the General Fund for the Evergreen Land Use and
Transportation Study Project.” Because the item was added late to
the agenda, it was justiﬁed as follows: “Earliest council consideration
of this action is requested to allow sufﬁcient time to complete the
feasibility study by the deadline (April 24, 2003) requested by the
developers who are providing funding for the study.”
The report on this matter made no mention that the study was
proposing major changes to the city’s master plan—converting hundreds
of acres of land planned as “Campus Industrial” and future job growth. The
report made no mention of converting a golf course and some community
college property, and proposing 4,000 to 6,000 additional housing units.
The staff report on the proposal went on to state that “public outreach
is not applicable at this phase of the project.” The entire city council
approved this item without question, comment or objection. Go to www.
BetterSanJose.com/book, click on Evergreen Report 2-18-03.
From February, 2003 until November, 2003 no public information was
made available on the private trafﬁc studies worked on by City staff and
the developers and their consultants.
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Politics—Worse Trafﬁc vs. Community Improvements
In August 2003, more than six months after initial meetings with the
developers and property owners, a community task force was organized by
the city, which eventually became the Evergreen Visioning Task Force. At
the same meeting Task Force members were informed that a consortium
of developers had approached city ofﬁcials regarding trafﬁc controls
that were perceived as too restrictive. In exchange for changing the
development restrictions, the developers might consider funding other
local improvements—things like a new community center, a little league
ﬁeld and a sports complex, new parks, trail improvements, and a new
library, among other community improvements. See www.BetterSanJose.
com/book, click on “Task Force Minutes 9-25-03” and “Potential Community
Amenities.” Task Force members were asked to begin considering what
improvements they would want for the community in exchange for
supporting housing development and weakening the city’s trafﬁc controls.
I disagree with this approach. I don’t believe residents should have
been asked to bargain away development controls for other community
improvements. Our city can fund neighborhood improvements without
having to compromise on good planning.
Developer Funded Study
In November 2003, without discussion, the city council approved a
proposal for funding the “Evergreen Smart Growth Strategy” the new
name given to the proposal to weaken the Evergreen Development Policy.
Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “Council Agenda 11-4-03”
and read item 4.7. In the staff report, for the ﬁrst time, the private
trafﬁc study was mentioned.
The study concluded new housing could be added to Evergreen
without major trafﬁc impacts. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click
on “Staff Report 11-4-03.” The study was unrealistic. It assumed that most
new residents in Evergreen would commute to jobs south in Edenvale and
Coyote Valley. But there was no imminent job growth in either
Based on this unrealistic study, the city council voted to proceed with
a detailed plans to change development in Evergreen. The study would be
paid for by the developers and property owners who would beneﬁt from
the changes. The group was called “Yerba Buena Opco LLC” described by
city planning staff as a “set of self-selected Evergreen property owners.”
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Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “Staff Report 4-12-05.”
So conﬁdent of getting a change in city policy, the development group
agreed to pay $8.8 million dollars for the study and detailed plans.
After the public meetings began, private meetings were held
inside city hall between the property owners and developers and
city staff and the council ofﬁce outside the presence of the public
and Evergreen residents who were members of the Task Force.
Along with the Campus Industrial property, the study covers three
other properties for more housing: (1) the former Pleasant Hills and
Cypress Greens Golf Courses, (2) 81 acres owned by the Arcadia devel-
opment company, and (3) 27 acres land owned by Evergreen College.
Arguing About Everything Other Than What’s Good for the Community
In the many task force meetings that followed, discussions occurred
on the potential “amenities” that the developers might provide. In a
meeting in March, 2004 Task Force members were presented with three
alternatives for building thousands of newly planned homes in Evergreen.
All three alternatives pre-supposed that the property would be lost
for job growth, the Pleasant Hills Golf Course would be converted and
so would the community college property. Given the choices, the Task
Force voted to eliminate the highest density-housing alternative.
The study began to bog down. Out of frustration with the delayed
time lines, the development group mutinied and took their case to
the mayor. The mayor supported their requests to ﬁnd a way to keep
the proposal for more housing and weaker trafﬁc policies moving
ahead. To do this, the mayor obtained council support to widen the
task force to include representation outside the Evergreen and added
another councilmember to the committee.
After bickering about who should chair the Task Force and whether
more members should be added, the city council approved the mayor’s
proposal and the study continued.
Forgotten in all the bickering were far more important issues. Why
was the city weakening the development controls for Evergreen? Why
was the city giving up on job growth and the taxes it would generate
for the city? Why were residents having to choose between community
improvements versus worse trafﬁc? Why was the city not considering
ways to keep the Pleasant Hills Golf Course open?
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No one should blame the residents who volunteered to be on the
Task Force. They have devoted years of work. However, I don’t believe
they were given real choices.
The city recently released the Environmental Impact Report for
the project. Converting the land preserved for job growth will result
in the loss of more than 10,000 future jobs. Trafﬁc will get much
worse at a number of intersections along Capitol Expressway (Ocala,
Story, Capitol, Silver Creek) and 15 different segments of Highway
101. For a summary of the Environmental Impact Report, go to www.
BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “Evergreen EIR Summary.”
I believe the city should preserve development controls in Evergreen
and land planned for future job growth. The city should work with
residents for needed community improvements. The city shouldn’t ask
residents to give up their quality of life to get these improvements.
North San Jose—A Massive New Downtown
and a New Residential City
Planned trafﬁc congestion. A new residential city that will drain
the city’s budget. A massive new downtown that will undermine the
existing one. A plan so intense, it will overrun the light-rail system
and force commuters into adjoinging neighborhoods. This is the City
of San Jose’s plan for North San Jose.
In March 2005 the City of San Jose was completing a new plan
for development in North San Jose, an area covering the North First
Street area north of Highway 101 to Highway 237, close to Alviso and
west of Berryessa. The goal of the plan was to loosen the development
controls for the area to allow high-rise construction and a massive
amount of new housing. The plan approved an additional 27 million
square feet of industrial and ofﬁce space. That amount of buildings
is about ﬁve times the size of the existing downtown. No one on the
council questioned why so much additional space was needed, when
approximately 11 million square feet of space was sitting empty.
In addition, the plan approved up to 32,000 housing units in less than
one-half square mile. That is close to the amount of housing in the entire city
of Mountain View, which covers 12 square miles. Little of it will be designed
for families, with no real variety of housing, or any real neighborhoods.
The plan runs contrary to a regional agreement reached in 1988 between
Silicon Valley cities for better regional planning. It runs against city
principles that development shouldn’t outstrip trafﬁc capacity.
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The mayor and city council approved the plan. The county, along with
Milpitas and Santa Clara sued San Jose in July 2005, accusing the city of
approving the plan without fully considering resulting trafﬁc problems.
In March 2006, a superior court judge ruled, ‘’San Jose simply declined
the invitation’’ to discuss ‘’fair share’’ agreements to cover increased
trafﬁc costs with the county and neighboring cities, deals he said ‘’have
often been used and shown to be feasible.’’ Go to www.BetterSanJose.
com/book, click on “Court Ruling Article 3-25-06.” The court set-aside
the plan. Now with a settlement costing $36 million to San Jose
taxpayers, the city council intends to move forward with the plan.
City ofﬁcials claim existing controls limit buildings in North
San Jose to one or two stories. In fact, multi-story buildings have
been built for years there, including along the light rail line on First
Street. Many more still can be built. The real motivation for the plan
has little to do with attracting more jobs. Millions of square feet of
industrial and ofﬁce space already sit empty in the city. Saddled with
this ocean of empty space, owners want to convert their property for
housing projects to generate an immediate economic return.
But their immediate gain will be the city’s long-term burden. These
housing units will require new schools and city services. San Jose is
facing a $35 million budget deﬁcit. Adding so much housing, with little
job growth, will damage the city’s budget for years to come, and dilute
servies to existing neighborhoods.
City trafﬁc projections paint a grim picture. The Mercury News
“The full effect of the development plan may not be felt for decades,
given that nearly a quarter of North San Jose’s current ofﬁce
space is now vacant. But if the high-rise ofﬁce towers for 83,300 new
workers, and densely clustered housing for 56,640 new residents ever
are built, the repercussions would be signiﬁcant and unavoidable:
• Congestion would worsen on more than 50 miles of freeways,
including interstates 880 and 680, Highway 101 and Route 87,
slowing trafﬁc to 35 mph at best.
• Motorists would have to wait considerably longer at 35 inter-
sections in San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara and Campbell that cannot
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be enlarged because of light rail lines or other obstacles.
• Cut-through trafﬁc in some neighborhoods would increase
substantially, even with trafﬁc-calming measures and some 30
miles of new streets.” Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, then
click on “Congestion Weighs on Plan 03-24-05.”
The plan is so intense it will outstrip the capacity of the light-rail
line. The problem might be helped, the report hopes, if workers are
willing to pack themselves tightly into the light rail cars.
I believe the North San Jose area needs new planning to accommodate
the changing way in which high-tech companies build. We do need to put
housing closer to jobs. But the plan adopted by the city is far too intense.
A Better Future—Healthy Growth
Bad planning damages cities and neighborhoods. Trafﬁc becomes
unmanageable, city budgets are stretched thin, and older and existing
neighborhoods suffer. I believe a city must always grow if it is to remain
healthy. But that growth should occur in a manner that renews a city
and enhances the quality of life.
To provide for healthy growth and responsible planning, these are the
actions I will undertake:
1. A New Start—It’s Time for a New City Plan
Instead of the piecemeal planning in Coyote Valley, Evergreen
and North San Jose, we should involve the entire community in a
new plan for San Jose.
I won’t repeat the same mistakes of the past. Planning thousands of new
homes in Coyote Valley, the southern extreme of the city, while planning a
massive new downtown in the far north end of the city will create new trafﬁc
congestion that will be difﬁcult to ever solve. There are no new highways
to be built between the two areas. Transit funding is limited.
Instead, we need a new city-wide plan that will achieve common
sense goals. We need a plan that makes San Jose better, not just bigger.
Pandori for Mayor
2. Speciﬁc Actions regarding Coyote Valley, Evergreen,
and North San Jose
I will restore the managed growth principles that were voted out by
the city council. Planning and development should not occur in Coyote
Valley until the city can afford to provide services there and maintain the
quality of previously existing services. Also, planning and development
should not occur in Coyote Valley until a major high-tech company locates
there. I will restore all of these principles, which were also voted out by
the current city council. But I would like to take this idea further.
Many maturing Silicon Valley companies have moved away from
sprawling campuses. Companies like Apple, Sun, Yahoo, and Google,
occupy denser buildings centrally located for their employees. We should
encourage similar building within the existing boundaries of San Jose in
each of our industrially planned areas.
I will not support weakening trafﬁc policies in Evergreen. It’s already
difﬁcult enough for residents to get in and out of the area. I will preserve
the 320 acres of land planned for job growth. If that land is converted, the
city could lose 10,000 future jobs and the tax revenues that will be gener-
ated. The city needs the jobs for its residents. The tax revenue will mean
better city services. I will work with residents on a strategy to try to retain
the Pleasant Hills Golf Course in operation.
North San Jose:
I oppose building a massive new downtown in North San Jose. New
high-rise buildings should be planned in the existing downtown, where
our transit lines converge. Working with our neighboring cities, I will
work on a sensible plan for North San Jose that allows more ﬂexibility
for higher-density high-tech development. Some new housing should be
planned, but only as new jobs are added to this area.
Pandori for Mayor
3. Work with the County and Our Neighboring Cities
Better plans are achieved when cities work together, rather than
compete against each other. We’ve had enough lawsuits, wasting taxpayer
money. I will bring together the major cities in the valley to work on a new
plan of tying job growth, housing and transportation planning together
throughout our region.
I support funding for BART. All the city’s trafﬁc and housing studies
show that it will be difﬁcult for the valley to attract future job growth
without some major change. We have reached a time when most of our
highways have been built out. Housing costs locally make the valley un-
affordable to many families. BART will provide a way for our valley to
connect to other communities. BART will connect our valley to housing
throughout the Bay Area.
Pandori for Mayor
Taking On Gangs
Our city needs a more concerted effort to deal with gangs. Staff-
ing in the police department is down. Community centers are proposed
for closure. The Parks & Recreation Department has been slashed. The
city hasn’t ﬁled a gang injunction in four years. Great opportunities are
being missed to work with our schools, the county, probation, parole,
the DA’s ofﬁce and the courts on the gang problem in the city.
But the mayor and council are quick to proclaim that San Jose is the
safest big city in America. If only that statistic had any meaning.
Try telling a neighborhood resident in one of San Jose’s gang-rid-
den neighborhoods that they live in the safest big city in America. As
a prosecutor I’ve met many crime victims. I would never be so arrogant
to claim, in the face of their problems, that San Jose is the safest big
city in America. To some San Jose neighborhoods it means nothing
to be safer than Detroit or Los Angeles.
The sad fact is that San Jose isn’t safe for everyone and for all neigh-
borhoods. San Jose isn’t even the safest city in Santa Clara County. In
some neighborhoods, parents worry about their kids getting safely to
school and back. Parents worry that their kids are being recruited by
gang members. In some neighborhoods you need to worry about what
color clothing you wear, because you might get killed. In some neighbor-
hoods, gangsters carve their gang grafﬁti on trees, paint it on the front
door of neighborhood homes, vandalize cars parked on the street and
threaten any witnesses against them. As a prosecutor and a city coun-
cilmember I’ve seen how gang members ruin neighborhoods.
Mayor Susan Hammer recognized the gang problem in San Jose. She
started the mayor’s gang task force. It is time to take this effort to a new
level. As mayor, I will propose the creation of a new joint powers agency—
a team of local agencies—working together closely and publicly to take
Tools for Fighting Gangs
There are powerful tools at our disposal to ﬁght gangs in San Jose.
Here are eight actions that I will initiate as mayor:
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1. Understanding the Problem—Publish Accurate Reports on Gang
Crime and Membership.
We need to start at the beginning—identify the real number of
gang members and true extent of gang crime in San Jose. We need
to know if we are eliminating gangs or whether gangs are continuing to
grow in San Jose. If we don’t start with this effort, we can’t measure
whether our efforts are successful.
Through discussions with police ofﬁcers and detectives as a former
councilmember and as a prosecutor, one thing has become clear
—we really don’t know the true extent of gangs and gang crime in
San Jose and whether gang activity is on the rise or fall.
The number of gang members in San Jose is not well-known. Some
gang detectives have estimated that gang members in San Jose num-
ber in the thousands, perhaps as many as 4,000 or more. With respect
to juveniles who were brought to Juvenile Hall in the year 2003, 928 de-
clared themselves to be gang-involved, more than double the number
from 2002. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “Juvenile Jus-
tice Plan Update.” The city’s 2005-2006 operating budget reported that
gang-related activity is on the increase. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/
book, click on “City’s Operating Budget” and read page VII-229.
Gangs commit crimes other than assaults and murders. They commit
robberies, burglaries, drug deals and other crimes to sustain the gang,
provide income, and increase their inﬂuence. I’ve learned that cases
sometimes referred to the robbery or theft unit could just as well be re-
ferred to the gang investigation unit because of the gang connections.
This means that gang crimes are being under reported. This isn’t the fault
of the San Jose Police Department. Sometimes the true nature of a crime
isn’t discovered until a thorough investigation is completed.
I have prosecuted gang cases where the gangster has committed prior
crimes that were not previously recognized as gang-related. With the ben-
eﬁt of hindsight, some of these prior crimes should have been treated as
gang crimes. Gang connections with certain crimes aren’t always appar-
2. Publicizing Gang Registration Information—
Giving the Public Information
I will support a new initiative to publicize records regarding gang
members who have been required to register their name and address
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with the San Jose Police Department.
Many people have heard of Megan’s law. California’s version requires
sex crime convicts to register their address with the local police depart-
ment and update it periodically and when they move. Many people do not
know that individuals who are convicted of gang related crimes are also
required to register with the local police department. Under the California
Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act, adults and juveniles
who are convicted of gang related crimes are required to register with the
local police department within 10 days of being released from custody or
within 10 days of arriving within a city. Also, the individual is required to
re-register within 10 days of moving. The police department takes ﬁnger-
prints and a photograph of the individual at the time of registration.
It’s a crime to fail to register. The ﬁrst offense is punishable as
a misdemeanor, with up to a year in county jail. A second offense is
punishable with a prison term up to 3 years.
The public should be able to know about the gang members in this
city. Parents ought to be able to know what gang members are in their
neighborhood. Knowledge really is power. Knowing about gang members
gives residents the power to protect their children and watch out for
themselves. That knowledge will also help the police by having well-in-
formed neighborhood residents who keep an eye on things in a neighbor-
I will ensure that we provide more education about gangs in schools.
The city has funded programs in schools where police ofﬁcers and oth-
ers have provided information to students on gangs and gang activity.
Currently, these programs are limited. They are not taught in enough
classes in the lower grades, middle school and high school. The cost of
providing some instruction at an early age is relatively inexpensive and
should be incorporated into school curriculum in every middle school
and in every high school as well as some of the lower grades.
Prevention programs are being cut. The Santa Clara County Juvenile
Justice Action Plan reported that community-based organizations
providing youth services expected in the range of $1.3 million in
cuts during Fiscal Year 2004-2005.
I propose identiﬁcation and intervention for kids who are in gang-
related families. Many gang members get into gangs because other family
Pandori for Mayor
members—a parent, a brother, a cousin or uncle—are gang members.
Gang life is a cycle, and for many gang members it is a family cycle.
To break this cycle, it should be a very high priority to identify the kids
who are related to active gang members in the city. It can be done. These
children should get special attention. There are many possibilities—con-
nect them with mentoring programs, make sure they are known by their
teachers and school administrators, make sure they are enrolled in after-
school programs, and summer recreation and study programs. Some will
need attention from social workers. It will be a challenge, but a targeted
effort at preventing the next generation of most likely gang members will
be worth the effort. That’s why a joint agency is needed so that the differ-
ent groups that affect one child’s life can work together better.
4. Gang Injunctions
I propose greater use of gang injunctions by the City of San Jose
to stop street gang intimidation and activities. Injunctions are pow-
erful legal tools to stop particular gang members from hanging out on
neighborhood streets, corners, parks and other public places.
In 1993, our city obtained an injunction to stop 38 sureno gang mem-
bers from dominating the Rocksprings neighborhood. The injunction
was challenged by attorneys who said it violated gang members’ First
Amendment rights—the freedom to associate. Ultimately, the use of
this type of injunction was approved by the California Supreme Court
in the case of People vs. Acuna. You can read the court opinion at
www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “People vs. Acuna.”
In its opinion, the Supreme Court summarized the problems that
were happening in the Rocksprings neighborhood:
“Gang members, all of whom live elsewhere, congregate on lawns, on
sidewalks, and in front of apartment complexes at all hours of the day
and night… Murder, attempted murder, drive-by shootings, assault and
battery, vandalism, arson and theft are commonplace. The community has
become a staging area for gang-related violence and a dumping ground for
the weapons and instrumentalities of crime once the deed is done. Area
residents have had their garages used as urinals; their homes comman-
deered as escape routes; their walls, fences, garage doors, sidewalks, and
even their vehicles turned into a sullen canvas of gang grafﬁti.
The people of this community are prisoners in their own homes…
Strangers wearing the wrong color clothing are at risk. Relatives and
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friends refuse to visit…Verbal harassment, physical intimidation, threats
of retaliation, and retaliation are the likely fate of anyone who complains
of the gang’s illegal activities or tells police where drugs may be hidden.”
San Jose police ofﬁcers, the city’s attorney’s ofﬁce, and residents
of the Rocksprings neighborhood worked together to prepare their case
for court. The city asked for anti-gang orders that prohibited gang members
from: (1) standing, walking, sitting, driving, gathering or appearing
anywhere in public view with other gang members in the neighborhood;
and (2) harassing, confronting, threatening, intimidating, and annoying
people in the neighborhood.
The order was powerful. It stopped gang activity that leads to crimes
being committed. With the order, the police could arrest gang mem-
bers who tried to claim the neighborhood as their turf. The Mercury
News reported that three months after the injunction became effec-
tive, the neighborhood was noticeably more livable. From March 1994
to February 1995, reports of crime dropped 63 percent from the same
period before ofﬁcials sought the order. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/
book, click on “News Article re Rocksprings Activity 8-21-95 .”
The city has obtained other gang injunctions since then. However, for
the last four years, there have been no further gang injunctions sought by
the city. Yet there are neighborhoods in San Jose that are not gang free. I
will make sure we use this tool in every neighborhood that needs it.
5. More Funding for Gang Investigation by the San Jose
I will provide more funding to increase police stafﬁng for gang en-
forcement and investigation. The police department is under-funded
with regard to investigation of gang cases. Currently, there are 14 detec-
tives, three sergeants and one lieutenant assigned to investigate the city’s
gang cases. A special street unit, called the Violent Crimes Enforcement
Team, provides supplemental street patrol and enforcement.
It is far cheaper now to spend money on gang enforcement then
it will be later. Gangs are constantly recruiting new members, making
it different than all other crime. Left alone, gangs will grow and crime
will increase. That’s why aggressive enforcement today saves money
tomorrow and prevents crime in neighborhoods later.
Second, I will ask the Police Chief to lengthen the service of gang
detectives. Being a gang detective is different than other detective work.
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As a detective learns about the different gangs in the city, their members,
the wannabees, the gang’s rivals, victims, witnesses, and neighborhood
residents, the detective becomes more effective and more valuable. Yet,
gang detectives typically have the same length of an assignment—three
years—as other detectives. We need to keep experienced detectives
on the job longer.
Third, we need to make sure that all gang cases get to the Gang Unit
in the police department. Gang crime isn’t always obvious. Gang-related
cases sometimes get referred to non-gang units in the police department.
Referral decisions are made by ofﬁcers in the case management unit.
Making sure that gang cases get referred to the gang unit is important.
We can take advantage of the tougher penalties for gang crime and better
understand the true extent of gang crime in the city.
6. Closer Coordination with County Probation and State Parole and
Better Enforcement of Probation and Parole Conditions.
I will ensure that our Police Department has the resources and com-
mitment to work closer with the County Probation Department and the
State Parole Ofﬁce. Convicted gang members who get county jail sen-
tences are placed under anti-gang orders as a condition of probation.
These include non-association with other gang members, stay-away
orders from the gang’s turf or speciﬁc areas related to the crime com-
mitted, gang registration, no possession of gang paraphernalia, no gang-
related clothing, and stay away orders from victims. A gang member
who violates his conditions of probation can be sent to prison.
Probation conditions are clearly powerful tools, but they are
only as strong as the enforcement. Enforcement of probation con-
ditions can be much better. I will make sure that our city gets
better enforcement of probation conditions.
The same principles apply to individuals who have been sentenced to
prison, and paroled back into the community. I will make sure that we work
much closer with the State Parole Ofﬁce to monitor gang members who
have been paroled from prison. We need to do better. Around some San
Jose high schools, there are more parolees within a one mile radius of the
school than teachers at the individual school. Go to www.BetterSanJose.
com/book, click on “Juvenile Justice Plan Update” and read page 13.
Pandori for Mayor
7. Tougher Sentencing
I will use the inﬂuence of the mayor’s ofﬁce and community members
to obtain tougher sentences for gangsters who commit crimes. For those
gang members who are committed to gang life and those who have com-
mitted violent acts or pose serious risks to others, tough sentences are
imperative. State law already provides for enhanced punishment for gang
crimes. I will make sure that the community’s voice is heard at sentencing
hearings for gang members.
8. A New Joint Powers Agency to Take On Gangs
I propose the creation of a joint powers agency, accountable and
open to the public, to address the problem of gangs.
The Mayor’s Gang Force was formed in 1991 to bring a coordinated
approach to addressing the problem of gangs. The Task Force continues
to do good work. But now, the Task Force lacks the same commitment
it received in its early years. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force doesn’t keep
minutes of their meetings and the group does not solicit signiﬁcant public
participation. At the District Attorney’s ofﬁce, I’ve heard little about the
activities of the Task Force. Gang funding has not fared well during the re-
cent budget sessions. It’s time to move the task force to a new level.
The issues described above show that there is a greater need for
coordination. Involving neighborhoods, publishing gang information,
pursuing civil injunctions, broader education, targeting at-risk youth,
and coordinating with probation and parole requires teamwork.
I’m proposing the creation of a joint powers agency. For years,
state law has allowed governments to cooperate, coordinate, and innovate
through the Joint Exercise of Powers Act. With the creation of an
agency, your tax money will go farther because existing money will
be spent in a coordinated manner.
Another beneﬁt will be to give the public a great opportunity for
involvement. The work of a joint powers agency is subject to public
review. The agency will have greater accountability to the public
than the current task force.
I will invite all local agencies to participate—every police agency,
every school district, our county government, the probation department,
the district attorney’s ofﬁce and others. It will be led by a board of com-
munity leaders, and I will be one of them. It will be a powerful force, and
I will make sure it does the job.
Pandori for Mayor
A Legacy Of Parks
A New Vision
We are a city that builds. In the 1980s, we began re-building our
downtown. During the last three decades we have approved three dif-
ferent measures to build a new transportation system. We have built
theatres, libraries and community centers. I believe we should take that
same dedication and apply it to our city’s park system, because great
cities have great parks.
Think of some of the great urban parks—San Francisco’s Golden
Gate Park, San Diego’s Balboa Park, New York’s Central Park, Vancouver’s
Stanley Park, Chicago’s Grant Park, the San Antonio Riverwalk. Let’s
start a new vision for San Jose. There are three great projects we can ac-
First, San Jose should set a goal that within a decade we will build
and connect the 100 miles of creek trails throughout our city. Our creeks
connect the diverse neighborhoods of our city.
Second, our emerging great downtown park, Guadalupe River Park
and Gardens, needs to be completed and connected. The park opened
partially in 2005, but great projects remain ahead.
Third, city and county government should work together to trans-
form the County Fairgrounds into a great city park and gathering place.
This dilapidated property is in reality an incredible resource. Imagine its
We can undertake these projects by setting new priorities in spend-
ing, the use of redevelopment funds and the creation of a parks charter
fund. Our city can leave a legacy of parks for San Jose’s next generation
and we can do it without a tax increase.
Parks Charter Fund
Our county has created a wonderful range of regional parks through
the adoption of a parks charter fund. In 1972 voters started the fund by
requiring that 10 percent of every property tax dollar be earmarked for
parks. In 1986, the percentage of property tax set aside for parks was
reduced to 1.5% of the total property tax revenues. That formula has
been re-approved by county voters in 1992 and 1996, the last time with
more than 80% of the voters approving the measure.
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The parks charter fund had required re-approval every four years. In
1996, given the popularity of the measure, re-approval was not required for
another twelve years, meaning the fund will remain in place until at least the
year 2009. The fund generates millions of dollars in park funding. From 2003
through 2008, about $35 million will be generated for county parks.
In contrast, for most of its park funding San Jose depends on the con-
veyance tax—a tax you pay when you buy or sell real estate—whether it’s
a home or business property. That’s a haphazard way to fund parks. When
the real estate sales are up, park funding goes up. But when real estate
sales are down, park funding goes down.
We need a better source of funding every year for park develop-
ment. San Jose should create a parks charter fund, like the county. I will
lead an effort for that same funding in San Jose and will ask for
your support to make it happen.
Building parks alone isn’t enough. Money needs to be set aside for
operation and maintenance. It does no good to build parks only to neglect
them or drain maintenance from our existing parks. A solution would be
to reserve a portion of the property tax for park operation and mainte-
nance. Cincinnati has a good idea of budgeting an endowment for major
parks to ensure they are maintained.
Three Major Projects: Connect the Creeks, Finish Guadalupe River
Park and Gardens and Transform the County Fairgrounds
Connecting our Creek Trails
Imagine a trail on the Guadalupe River from Almaden to Alviso. Imag-
ine Los Gatos Creek connected from Los Gatos, through Willow Glen and
into downtown merging with the Guadalupe River at the Conﬂuence Park
next to the San Jose Arena. Imagine Coyote Creek connected from North
San Jose and Berryessa through downtown, past the historical museum
park, and connecting to the existing trail to south San Jose and Morgan Hill.
Imagine Penitencia Creek, Silver Creek and Thompson creek completed
and connected all the way through to Coyote Creek. My commitment will
be to see that these creek trails are completed in the next ten years.
Six years ago San Jose voters approved new park funding when they
voted for Measure “P.” That law authorized the city to issue up to $228
million in bonds for parks and was approved with 79% of vote. We can take
a message from that vote—San Jose residents want better parks.
Pandori for Mayor
The city’s creek trails have not received enough funding. Over the next
ﬁve years, only $11.5 million is set aside for creek trails. The money is divided
among 13 different creek trails and will not result in the completion of any
entire trail. The funding equals only about 5% of the authorized bond issue
of $228 million, however much of the funding comes from non-bond sourc-
es. These city-wide trails deserve better funding. Go to www.BetterSan-
Jose.com/book, click on “City’s Park Budget” and read page V-504.
The following is a summary of the work that has been done to date on
the creek trails. For maps and information on each one of these rivers and
creeks, go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “Creek Trails.”
For current photos of some of these creeks, please visit www.ConnectOur-
Guadalupe River: This trail can eventually connect Almaden to
Alviso. This is one of the two major north-south creeks in San Jose.
It runs along the central and west side of San Jose. The Guadalupe
River Park and Gardens is located in the downtown area between
Highway 280 on the south and Highway 880 on the north.
North of downtown, one of the easiest and cheapest trails that can
be completed in the city is the connection from downtown to Alviso. The
Santa Clara Valley Water District has completed reconstruction of the
levee banks along the river, and a bike and walking trail can be com-
pleted. The city has budgeted money for trail development in this area
($850,000). The main obstacles are the completion of under-crossings for
Airport Parkway, Highway 101 and Highway 237. The Water District has
completed new under-crossings for Trimble, Montague and Tasman.
South of downtown is more challenging. It is possible to build interim
trails from that area to Lake Almaden in San Jose. However, some of the
trail will have to run along city streets, because of property restrictions.
Guadalupe Creek: This creek extends west from the Guadalupe Riv-
er, just north of Lake Almaden and Los Alamitos Creek. Guadalupe Creek
is about 4.4 miles. A master plan has been completed for the trail and an
interim trail on a gravel service road allows people to walk or bike. The
trail can be accessed from Singletree Avenue or at Almaden Expressway.
For more information, go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on
“Creek Trails” and “Guadalupe Creek.”
Pandori for Mayor
Los Alamitos Creek: This completed creek trail is a popular walk
and ride south of Lake Almaden. At Camden Avenue you can continue
on the trail or cross over the roadway and access the Calero Creek trail.
For more information go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on
“Creek Trails” and “Los Alamitos Creek.”
Coyote-Alamitos Canal: An 11-mile canal runs along the base of the
Santa Teresa Foothills connecting Coyote Creek to Alamitos Creek in
Almaden. Much of the canal cuts across private property and development
of a trail will be challenging. But the views are beautiful and a public trail
will be very popular for the many residents living in the area. For more
information, visit, www.geocities.com/santateresahills/C-ACanal.htm
Los Gatos Creek: The current trail is probably the most popular creek
trail in the valley, running from Meridian Avenue in San Jose, through
Campbell, Vasona Park, and Los Gatos to the Lexington Reservoir.
The remaining challenge is to extend the creek trail from Willow
Glen into the downtown, where it joins and becomes the Guadalupe
River at the arena. Progress is slowly being made. However, a new
link has been funded from Lincoln to Auzerais Avenue.
The last mile to downtown San Jose will be difﬁcult because the creek
becomes an underground pipe for some distance near Bird Avenue to Park
Avenue, before surfacing.
Willow Glen Spur—A Connection between Los Gatos Creek, the
Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek. The city has budgeted $800,000 for
trail development and acquisition. This little known project—a trail along
a railroad spur—offers the exciting possibility of providing an east-west
connection between Los Gatos Creek, the Guadalupe River and Coyote
Creek, which would interconnect most of the city’s entire trail system.
Coyote Creek: This is one of the two major north-south creeks in San
Jose running on the east side of San Jose. Construction of under-crossings
at Tasman Drive and Montague Expressway, and a connection to a bike lane
on Highway 237 is underway. However, the creek trails from downtown to
North San Jose remain to be constructed. The portion from Montague Ex-
pressway to Story Road will require crossing under six streets and at least
one pedestrian bridge. Portions of the creek in the downtown area will be
difﬁcult to connect because residential property lines extend to the creek,
Pandori for Mayor
limiting public access. Trails may have to follow neighborhood streets.
A short unpaved trail is being constructed from William Street to
Highway 280. From Story Road to Phelan, near the Los Lagos Golf Course,
about 1.8 miles of trails will be constructed with Park Bond revenue. A
paved trail exists from the golf course, south to Hellyer Park to Edenvale
and Coyote Valley.
Penitencia Creek: This creek is about four miles long and runs from
Alum Rock Park and connects to Coyote Creek. Much of the creek has a
paved trail and is currently open between Mabury Road and Piedmont
Road and runs through the Penitencia Creek Park. A segment from Pied-
mont Road to Noble was recently under construction. An interim trail is
being planned from Noble Drive to Alum Rock Park. The segment between
Mabury Road and Coyote Creek still needs to be completed. For a map of
the creek, go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “Creek Trails”
and “Penitencia Creek.”
Berryessa Creek: The Berryessa Creek Trail is a proposed trail locat-
ed in northeast San Jose. The trail would follow Berryessa Creek between
Piedmont Road and Morrill Avenue. The planned Berryessa Creek Trail
would be short (1.25 miles) and provide access to a Berryessa Creek Park
and Majestic Way Elementary School. This project is still in the planning
Silver Creek: This creek connects Thompson Creek to Coyote Creek.
Silver Creek is about 6.8 miles long and most of the creek lacks paved
trails. The Water District is working on a 2.3 mile ﬂood control project
between Coyote Creek to Interstate 680 which can include future trails.
The ﬂood control work is currently scheduled to be completed by the end
of 2007. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “Creek Trails”
and “Lower Silver Creek.”
Thompson Creek: The potential creek trail is 6.8 miles long from
Tully Road to Heartland Way in Evergreen. Thompson creek connects into
Silver Creek, which in turn connects into Coyote Creek. The portion from
Tully Road to Larkspur Canyon Drive is unﬁnished. A master plan was
completed in the Spring of 2005. Improvements are currently planned to
open between Tully Road and Aborn Road on an interim basis. These im-
provements are expected to be complete by the end of 2006. The interim
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trail will be unpaved and will include signs and access at various points
along the trail. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “Creek
Trails” and “Thompson Creek.”
Fowler Creek: The creek runs from Yuerba Buena Road, along the
future Fowler Creek Park near Alita Avenue, east to Ruby Avenue. The
creek is about a mile long. A paved neighborhood walkway near the creek
exists about one-half of mile along Cortona Drive, and Fowler Road in
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens
If San Jose has a potential central park in its future, it’s Guadalupe
River Park and Gardens. I will see that this park is completed.
This three mile park runs from the Children’s Discovery Museum
near Highway 280 past the downtown and the arena and north to High-
way 880. To learn more about Guadalupe River Park and Gardens,
visit www.grpg.org. The website is for the Friends of Guadalupe River
Park and Gardens, a community group supporting the park.
Even though the park is not completed, it already has great com-
ponents. Discovery Meadow is the great lawn near the Children’s Dis-
covery Museum. A children’s park with play fountains and a play creek
is located mid-way at McEnery Park. At the Arena Green by the San
Jose Arena, you’ll ﬁnd a Carousel, a children’s playground and a visi-
tor center, along with great views. A new lawn opened up in 2005 and
here you will ﬁnd historic River Street homes that have been converted
into businesses, just north of the World Famous Henry’s Hi-Life.
Taking the trail farther north, the park widens north of Cole-
man Avenue and you come to the future 140-acre Guadalupe Gardens.
Here you’ll ﬁnd the Heritage Rose Garden, planted and maintained by
volunteers, is the largest collection of heritage roses in the United
States (www.heritageroses.us). Next door is a historic orchard of 200+
fruit bearing trees, also planted and maintained by volunteers.
Only a relatively small portion of Guadalupe Gardens has been devel-
oped into a park. The rest continues to lie in a weedy state with remnants
of the old neighborhood streets and utilities still criss-crossing the area. I
will complete the Guadalupe River Park and the Gardens to create a great
central park for San Jose.
Pandori for Mayor
The County Fairgrounds
The single property that needs our greatest attention is the County
Fairgrounds. The site is approximately 158 acres. It has become
a neglected eyesore that hasn’t come close to achieving its potential.
No other city in the county would settle for this dilapidated
property. It’s time that San Jose stop accepting its neglect.
In 1994, after a long period of ﬁnancial decline, the private non-
proﬁt association running the Fairgrounds, the old Fair Association,
ﬁled for bankruptcy. The event prompted the County Board of Supervisors
in 1995 to create a new governing board for the Fairgrounds—the
Fairgrounds Management Corporation. The Corporation’s board is
composed of ﬁve persons. Each member of the ﬁve-member Board
of Supervisors appoints one of these members.
The Board of Supervisors approved a plan for the revitalization
of the county fairgrounds in April 2000. The plan included a new Per-
forming Arts Theatre, a new expo center, and a community recreation
facility. Also, because of years of deferred maintenance, new streets
and utilities are needed to improve the fairgrounds.
Little progress has been made on the new expo center or the commu-
nity recreation facility. However, plans did move forward for a 7,500 seat
indoor theatre at the Fairgrounds. The theatre is proposed to go on 10 acres
of land at the southwest corner of the Fairgrounds near Monterey Highway
and Umbarger Road. Construction has been stalled because the Theatre has
been the subject of lawsuits between city government and county govern-
ment, but can move forward now that the lawsuit has been settled.
I believe that the county and the city should work together on
developing a new plan for the entire fairgrounds and become joint part-
ners in implementing the plan. City and county government both serve
the same residents. San Jose residents don’t care who owns the Fair-
grounds—they simply want to see that the Fairgrounds improve.
When we work together we can do much more than when we work
separately. When our city worked with San Jose State University, we built
a better library than either of us could have done individually. It’s time
that the city and county become partners in the Fairgrounds. Together
we should work on a new plan to rebuild the fairgrounds into a great park
and gathering place for the People of San Jose.
Pandori for Mayor
The Next Generation—Saving for the Future
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
An Endowment for the Next Generation
I believe that cities should save money. Most cities set aside some
money as a reserve in the event of a downturn in the local economy.
But I believe that cities should save money for a different purpose
— to provide for the next generation.
Each of us knows that, if we can, we should always try to save mon-
ey for the future. We know we need to save, whether it’s for our kids
or our own old age, even though it’s not easy to do. From being on the
city council for eight years, I’ve learned how to balance the city’s bud-
get. I know our city can save money each year for its future.
I plan to create a 25 year savings plan for San Jose. Over that period
I will ask for some small, but affordable percentage of the general fund—
one percent—to be set aside annually into a new endowment. In 25 years
that penny will grow to a $500 million endowment that could generate
about $25 million in interest annually. I know the next generation will ﬁnd
a good use for it—whether it’s for neighborhood improvements, parks, li-
braries, youth programs, homework centers, scholarships or other good
Benjamin Franklin and Municipal Endowments
A municipal endowment is not an original idea. Benjamin Frank-
lin was the ﬁrst American to put it into action in the United States.
When he died in 1790, Franklin’s will made a gift of 1,000 pounds
each to Boston, his native city, and to Philadelphia, his adopted
home. The money was required to be saved and invested. This gift re-
ﬂected Franklin’s own life. He was not born into wealth. He became
successful through learning a trade. Franklin wrote in his will:
“I have considered that among Artisans good Apprentices are most
likely to make good Citizens, and having myself been bred to a manual
Art Printing, in my native Town, and afterwards assisted to set up my
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business in Philadelphia by kind loan of Money from two Friends there,
which was the foundation of my Fortune, and of all the utility in life that
may be ascribed to me, I wish to be useful even after my Death, if pos-
sible, in forming and advancing other young men that may be serviceable
to their country in both those Towns. To this End I devote Two thousand
Pounds Sterling, which I give, one thousand thereof to the Inhabitants
of the Town of Boston, in Massachusetts, and the other thousand to the
Inhabitants of the City of Philadelphia, in Trust to and for the Uses,
Interests and Purposes hereinafter mentioned and declared.”
Franklin required that for the ﬁrst hundred years, the money, totaling
1,000 pounds for each city (about $4,500 in Year 1790 dollars), was to serve as
a loan fund to help young married tradesmen start their own businesses—
today’s small business loan idea. When the hundred years were up, the fund’s
managers would divide the money, using approximately three-fourths for
public works and maintaining the rest as a loan fund for tradesmen.
Franklin estimated that at the end of two hundred years, each city’s
fund would total over $4,061,000, or about $7 million in today’s dollars.
At the end of 200 years, with regard to the Boston endowment, Franklin
directed the fund’s managers to give roughly three-fourths of the fund to
Massachusetts and the remainder to Boston to spend as they saw ﬁt.
During the lifetime of the trust, Philadelphia used it for a variety of
loan programs to local residents. From 1940 to 1990, the money was used
mostly for mortgage loans. When the trust came due, Philadelphia de-
cided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students.
Franklin’s contribution to Boston was used for loans and then eventu-
ally used to establish a trade school that became the Benjamin Franklin
Institute of Technology. The remainder of his Boston monetary gift grew
to approximately $5,000,000 which was eventually split between the State
of Massachusetts and Boston in the early 1990s.
Saving versus Wasting Money
Some say that San Jose can’t afford to save money for the future.
The city is facing a budget deﬁcit and every dollar is needed for today’s
problems. Saving money will require tough decisions, but perhaps it will
motivate our current mayor and city council to stop wasting money. There
have been many reports of wasted money over the last few years. Here are
Pandori for Mayor
New City Hall: Millions of dollars of excessive improvements, furniture
and equipment. Little was done to manage the cost overruns. The build-
ing has cost more to build than the San Jose Arena.
Old City Hall: The old city hall was supposed to be sold, leased or used
to help defray the costs of building a new city hall. The city has had eight
years to plan what to do with the building. Instead, it sits empty, costing
taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Illegal Garbage Payments: The city approved, and then conﬁrmed, over
$11.25 million/year of additional payments to one of its garbage collec-
tors, Norcal, for which they were not entitled.
Grand Prix: After closed door meetings, the city approved an additional
$4 million subsidy for the popular champ car series race in downtown.
Meanwhile, other cities give the race no subsidy whatsoever.
Stephen’s Sausage Plant: The council approved $5.7 million to buy this
building for a potential baseball park site, even though voter approval had
not yet been obtained for the site as required by law. The city paid exces-
sive money for the property, at values above the rates of prime downtown
Operating Losses for Professional Sports Teams: The council discussed
in closed session a proposal to pay millions of dollars for the annual op-
erating losses of the San Jose Earthquakes or a potential expansion fran-
chise. Support for the proposal dropped when it became known publicly.
Telephone System for New City Hall: The council approved an $8 million
proposal for a new phone system for the new city hall. The project was
anti-competitive and against city rules because it speciﬁed only one type
of components provided by Cisco. The council approved the proposal any-
way because it was argued that delay would cost millions. When the work
was set-aside because of a threatened lawsuit, the council saved millions
when competition was permitted.
Expensive and Wasted Landscaping Plans: After having spent several
hundred thousand dollars on one set of plans for the Coleman/800 Inter-
change, the council spent another $300,000 for a new set of plans. Some-
one had decided ivy landscaping was not sufﬁcient, and something more
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luxurious was needed. Meanwhile, other highway landscaping has been
Litigation Expenses: The city will pay $36 million to the county for lit-
igation on the Fairgrounds. The city paid over $8 million in attorney’s
fees and legal costs to lawyers and lobbyists representing the Tropicana
Shopping Center Owners. The city wasted more money in litigation on the
North San Jose plan, which was set aside by a court.
Councilman Terry Gregory Investigation: The city wasted thousands of
dollars on an independent investigation of ex-councilman Terry Gregory
even though videotape evidence, receipts, and witness testimony clearly
showed that Gregory was accepting illegal gifts.
Salary Increases for Executives: The council proposed retroactive pay
increases for city executives, including the former city manager who
resigned after the garbage scandal. The proposal was modiﬁed, but the
council still approved bigger raises than what was offered to rank and
ﬁle employees. A raise was granted to the city attorney, even though the
council had requested an apology for his role in the scandal a few months
Montgomery Hotel Move: It cost over $3 million to move this historic
hotel less than 100 yards. The city should have saved the money and pre-
served history by keeping the hotel where it was.
Restaurant Paid to Leave Downtown: The city approved about $1 mil-
lion to pay for a downtown restaurant to vacate a building and leave the
downtown. The move was needed for the seismic retroﬁt of the building,
but a better plan could have been worked out.
Unpaid Festival Costs and Loans: The city forgave $600,000 to a com-
munity group for costs it agreed to pay for a downtown festival. The city
loaned the same group $4 million which it failed to pay back. The same
group owed the county assessor over $500,000 in back taxes.
Roosevelt Roller Hockey Rink: The city spent $500,000 to demolish a six
year-old roller hockey rink and move it about 100 yards.
Benjamin Franklin would have done better. We can do better too.
Pandori for Mayor
Reforming City Government
For the last few years the mayor and city council have gone from
scandal to scandal. Now as we near an election much of the campaign
is focused on reform, so much so that important issues like gangs,
development and the city’s budget are being neglected.
City Hall is in need of reform. The mayor and council have voted to
cover-up investigations. They have accommodated a new industry of lob-
byists. Elected ofﬁcials have raised thousands of dollars in contributions
from special interests after being elected. The city’s master plan is ig-
nored and amended at will. The public has been excluded from important
decision-making. Decisions are being made behind closed doors.
I have been interested in better government. It didn’t start during
After I was elected to the city council in 1990, I wanted to change
the city’s campaign laws. Our laws weren’t enforced. Candidates ﬁnished
campaigns with massive debts and raised money to pay off debt
years after being elected. Campaigns were far too long and candidates
raised money early to discourage competition.
In 1993 I recommended we create an independent Ethics Commission
with the power to enforce our campaign laws. Second, I proposed that
campaigns be debt free. That way, voters would know who was contribut-
ing to elections before someone was elected. Third, I recommended that
we shorten the period of time that candidates could raise money.
For about a year I worked with the League of Women Voters and the
Chamber of Commerce who endorsed the proposals as did Councilman
Frank Fiscalini and Mayor Hammer. Eventually, the proposals were ad-
opted unanimously by the city council, and they remain the law today. For
more information, go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on “SJ
Campaign Reform Plan 04-25-93”.
New Sunshine Laws
We have heard about the scandals at city hall during the last
eight years—cost overruns, the city hall telephone contract, the
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Norcal-garbage scandal, and the secret discussions regarding the
Grand Prix. The Mercury News performed a great public service in
exposing these scandals. But their work was hampered by secrecy
and the belated production of key information by the city.
I support the proposal, with minor exceptions, that has been set forth
by our newspaper for new sunshine laws—laws designed to allow the
government activity to be exposed to the light of day. You can read the de-
tailed proposal for new sunshine laws at www.mercurynews.com/opinion.
Some elements of the proposal include:
• All city policy bodies must meet in public.
• Participants in a public meeting who possess information relevant to an
agenda item must disclose that information to other participants.
• Limits the types of council sessions closed to the public.
• Closed sessions must be tape recorded, and those tape recordings
become public when the justiﬁcation for the closed session elapses.
• Meeting agendas and reports shall be posted and available 10 days in
advance of the meeting.
• A single master calendar on the city’s Web site will list all city meetings
when scheduled along with supporting materials.
• Council members’ appointment calendars and telephone records must
be made available to the public as well as any communications regarding
a meeting agenda item and communications with lobbyists.
• Members of the public will have an explicit right to address any policy
body on agenda items.
• Expand the types of records that are public, including records pertain-
ing to misconduct by public employees, compensation records, and infor-
mation submitted to the city in seeking government contracts.
• Make certain aspects of police reports public as well as code enforce-
ment activity and complaints.
I am concerned about the disclosure of police reports. State law
forbids the release of certain information in police reports to protect
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witnesses and privacy. I’m also concerned about releasing information
about code enforcement complaints, because it will discourage residents
from ﬁling complaints.
An alternative Sunshine law proposed by the council will be studied by
a community task force. The council’s proposal needs to be strengthened
by making the law enforceable through an independent group like the
Ethics Commission, rather than the city attorney, an employee of the
mayor and city council.
A lobbyist is a person or group paid to represent the interests of
someone seeking governmental action on their behalf. Often, lobbyists
are paid for obtaining access to decision-makers. Some are paid
“success fees” for getting votes that help their clients.
During the last eight years, a new industry of lobbyists has been
created in San Jose. A number of the lobbyists are directly con-
nected with the mayor. They have used their relationship with him to
win clients, provide access, and inﬂuence decisions. They include
former aides, his campaign treasurer, and his ﬁnancial supporters.
Many of the councilmembers made these lobbyists more powerful by
making themselves accessible to lobbyists and their clients.
A series of news stories described the problem. One report showed
that lobbyists were ignoring a city law that required them to regis-
ter and disclose their clients. The council had already formed a “Blue
Ribbon Task Force,” which was initially proposed by the mayor for an-
other purpose—to weaken the city’s ethics laws. The Task Force had
been asked to look at increasing political contribution limits and cre-
ating a legal defense fund for elected ofﬁcials. See www.BetterSan-
Jose.com/book, click on “Mayor’s Memo regarding Blue Ribbon Task
Force.” The group’s initial mission was changed after the reports of the
various scandals. The Task Force eventually recommended a series of
good laws that required greater reporting of lobbyist activities.
The only problem was nothing signiﬁcant changed. The new industry
of lobbyists are still at city hall. The council could end it, without
enacting a single law. All they have to do is refuse to meet with them.
Good ideas shouldn’t need a lobbyist or a city hall insider.
I will make three changes at city hall to reduce the inﬂuence of
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First, I don’t plan to meet with any lobbyists. I believe government
should be accessible directly to any person or group that wishes to
talk directly about an idea that they think is good for San Jose. They
don’t need to hire a middle-man. I will ask members of the city council
to also boycott lobbyists.
Second, I won’t let my staff participate in any revolving door of
government. I won’t hire anyone who intends to return to city hall as
a lobbyist after working for me.
Third, I am not taking campaign contributions from lobbyists and I
won’t ask them for any help in raising money from others.
Restore Checks Balances—City Charter Review
Three major changes in city law have greatly increased the power of
the mayor at the expense of the city council and the city manager.
In 1978 the voters divided the city into 10 council districts with one
councilmember elected from each district and only the mayor elected
city-wide. Before, the city council was composed of one mayor and six
councilmembers. District elections have been good for San Jose govern-
ment. They have ensured representation of all areas. But the change also
made the mayor more powerful in relation to the city council.
In 1980 a second change occurred—a city council committee system
was created. The mayor was given the power to nominate the chairs and
members of committees. This allowed the mayor to put city council allies in
leadership roles, strengthening the mayor’s power over the city council.
In 1986 voters approved Measure “J” and gave the mayor two more
powers. First, the mayor was given the power to recommend who would
ﬁll powerful positions in city government—the city manager and the city
attorney, and others. This power has led to a weak city manager and city
attorney, who act more as employees of the mayor than independently-
minded ofﬁcials that the city charter envisioned. Second, the mayor
was given the power to develop the city budget. Before that power be-
longed exclusively to the City Manager. Now the mayor had the power
to reward supporters on the council and punish opponents.
With these changes, the mayor’s ofﬁce has grown in power, and the city
council and the city manager have grown weaker. I believe the time has
come to re-establish checks and balances, not by weakening the mayor’s
ofﬁce but by having an equally strong city manager and city council.
I will propose a Charter Revision Commission to restore checks and
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balances. I will bring people together from throughout the community to
propose ways to increase the strength of both the city manager and the
city council relative to the mayor. The city manager and administration
should be free from political meddling. Councilmembers should be free
to do the right thing without the risk of losing funds for their district or
being punished in the committee system. Restoring checks and balances
will go a long way to avoiding the other scandals and secrecy that have
taken hold in city government.
Eliminate Ofﬁceholder Fundraising
City law allows the mayor and council members to raise money while
they are in ofﬁce. The money is supposed to be used to defray ofﬁce
expenses. I disagree with the law. If there is a needed ofﬁce expense,
it should be funded by the public, not by a special interest. Fundraising
should end when you’re in ofﬁce. Although city law allowed me to raise
money after I was elected, I chose not to do so.
The current city council has a different point of view. Current city
law lets councilmembers take contributions up to $250 per year
per contributor. The mayor can accept up to $500 per contributor.
Somehow these limits were ignored for several years at city hall.
Councilmembers did fundraising that exceeded these contribution
limits. The fundraising escaped notice until it was discovered by the
Mercury News. After the news media reported about the secret
fundraising, the council was forced to outlaw the practice.
Even though this type of fundraising has stopped, I believe the city
should go a step further. We should abolish ofﬁceholder fundraising alto-
gether. I do not believe that the council should raise funds from special
interests while voting on city matters. Fundraising should end when elec-
Reforming the Development Review Process
The city’s master plan for development is called the General Plan. All
development decisions are supposed to be consistent with the General
Plan, but the current city council has undercut the plan. They changed
city rules so that the plan could be amended throughout the year. They
have played fast and loose with the requirement that development de-
cisions should be consistent with the plan. They approved doing three
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separate, piecemeal plans in three different areas of the city and set-
aside city rules requiring a comprehensive update to the plan.
We need to restore some basic rules to reduce the inﬂuence of day-to-
day politics and special interests on the city’s long-term plan.
First, I will involve the entire community in updating the plan. It’s
long-overdue. Second, I will stop the frequent changes to the plan and
return to an annual review. That system has worked ﬁne for the city
for 24 years. Third, I will require that all development projects be truly
consistent with the city’s master plan. Fourth, I will make sure that the
Planning Commission, the citizen commission that advises the council on
development decisions, is composed of highly-qualiﬁed residents, rather
than simply political allies of the mayor and council. Fifth, I also will in-
stitute new rules to ensure that the Planning Department staff can in-
dependently review projects, without interference by the council or the
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New Sunshine Laws have been proposed for city government. These
laws will open up more city hall activity to public review. The proposals
are overdue. But they will only shed light on future activities. They will do
nothing to expose the extent of past corruption at city hall. For that, I be-
lieve we should apply some “retroactive sunshine” to two prior scandals.
On both of these, the council voted to cover-up any further investigation.
The Cisco-Telephone Contract Scandal
City Hall staff let Cisco inﬂuence speciﬁcations for the new phone
service at city hall. As a result, the bidders on the contract were re-
quired to use Cisco components, which decreased competition for the
work, and drove up costs.
Mayor Gonzales may have been aware of the ﬂaws months before
the contract came up for a vote and before it was publicized in the
Mercury News. Months before the vote, Cisco paid for a trip the mayor
took to Sweden for a Cisco-sponsored “Public Services Summit.” At the
summit, Mayor Gonzales gave a PowerPoint presentation. The slides
included the use of a new phone system, and the construction of the
new city hall. See www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “OneVoice
Slides.” (You’ll need PowerPoint software to view the presentation.)
The entire city council should have known of the anti-competitive
aspects of the contract when the Mercury News reported the scandal
before the vote to award the contract. See www.BetterSanJose.com/book,
click on “Letting the Fox Design the Henhouse 6-20-04.” The mayor and
city council voted for the contract anyway after a closed session of
the council prior to the vote.
A week later, after continued news coverage, the council voted to have
the city attorney and the city auditor investigate Cisco’s role in writing the
speciﬁcations for the City Hall phone system. This appears to be a conﬂict of
interest itself, since the City Attorney would have to defend the city against
claims by Cisco competitors. The proposed investigation was worked out
privately. The public wasn’t given notice and no report was made public be-
fore the vote approving it. Instead, the proposed investigation was included
in the approval of an unrelated item—the purchase of new window wash-
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ing equipment for city hall. See www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click
on “Council Agenda—Window Washing Equipment” and read Item 3.5.
The City Attorney and City Auditor’s investigation blamed city hall
middle management. Their report covered-up a key fact—a deputy
city attorney had repeatedly warned upper management about the
contract’s ﬂaws. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on
“Warnings Ignored 9-3-04.” The City Attorney and City Auditor never
explained why their report hid this fact and the council never asked.
The city council then hired an outside investigator at public
expense. His investigation was hindered when city staff failed to
timely produce e-mails suggesting that the city manager himself knew
about the ﬂaws. Go to www.BetterSanJose.com/book, and click on
“Evidence that City Manager Knew 01-25-05.” Further investigation was
requested to determine who knew what when.
With the investigation showing that the city manager and possibly the
mayor knew about the conﬂicts, the mayor and two city councilmembers
co-signed a proposal to “cease further investigation.” See www.BetterSan-
Jose.com/book, click on “Mayor-Councilmember Memo 1-25-05.”
We need retroactive sunshine on the Cisco controversy. What private
discussions did the council have on this matter? Why was there a cover-up
in the investigation? Why didn’t the city attorney and city auditor report
that upper management had been warned? Why were e-mails withheld
from the Mercury News? And most importantly, what did the city council
know before they voted for this corrupt contract?
The Norcal-Garbage Scandal
The civil grand jury and an independent investigation revealed
that the mayor made a secret deal with Norcal, one of the city’s garbage
collection contractors. Under the secret deal Norcal would be paid
public money above and beyond their contract to cover extra wages
demanded by union ofﬁcials. The extra wages were not required
by the city contract. Further, the wages that were paid were Norcal’s
responsibility, not the city’s responsibility.
Public records indicate that the mayor and possibly others on the
city council wanted certain recycling workers who were in the Long-
shoremen union, to be represented by the Teamsters and receive
a higher wage. It is illegal for the city to force a business to accept
a union or specify a preference of one union over another.
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Public records show that most of the council either knew or should
have known about this. City council minutes from October 10, 2000 show
that there was a detailed discussion about the union issues when Nor-
cal was selected as the city’s garbage collector. Representatives from two
competing unions spoke to the council at this public meeting. A Team-
sters representative asked for a neutrality agreement—an agreement
that would allow them to organize workers without comment or argu-
ment by the employer. At the same council meeting, a representative from
the Longshoremen, the existing union representing recycling employees
spoke and asked the council to uphold the existing union contract.
Reviewing these records, an independent investigator hired by
the city concluded: “Whether the city council (other than the mayor)
speciﬁcally recognized (or were advised of) the signiﬁcance of this
conﬂict as it relates to wages and labor costs, and when, is a critical,
currently unresolved question.” Rather than answering this critical
question, the council voted to end the investigation.
The entire council then reprimanded the mayor. For some coun-
cilmembers, this may have been a hypocritical vote—reprimand-
ing the mayor for the same conduct in which they had engaged.
The public reports show that the mayor’s ofﬁce was meeting repeat-
edly with Norcal and others associated with deal. The reports don’t show
whether other council members were meeting with Norcal and council-
members have not volunteered this information. Councilmembers should
produce their calendars to show what contact they had with people in-
volved in the Norcal deal. Was the mayor really the only politician at city
hall that knew about this secret deal?
Pandori for Mayor
My School Is My City
Ask a student—whether they’re in elementary school, middle school
or high school—what they think of when they think of San Jose. At
some point, that student will talk about their school. For many young
people, their school is their city, their world. If we do care about the
youngest people in our city, we need to care about their schools.
I know that there are serious problems at city hall—the scandals,
the waste, the lack of direction. My ﬁrst priority will be to put San Jose
government back on track. Our city needs better planning, a new ap-
proach to gangs, and renewed efforts to build a great park system. We do
need to think and plan better for the next generation.
And if we are committed to making the city better for the next genera-
tion, it’s important to remember that the next generation is in school. A
great city is only great if it has great schools too. It’s time to think about
what the city does and how it can support our schools.
Homework Centers , After-School Programs
The city offers after-school programs at community centers around
the city. The city has funded homework centers at neighborhood schools.
That was a good step forward.
I believe more of our programs ought to be offered directly at our
schools. Many parents need after-school programs because they work,
and don’t want their kids left unsupervised. It’s time that we stop thinking
of city after-school programs separate from after-school programs offered
by our schools.
We need to make sure that our after-school programs are quality pro-
grams. I will make sure that the money set aside for after-school pro-
grams is money well spent. Our programs should be well supervised and
well-attended. See www.BetterSanJose.com/book, click on “After School
Programs Report” and “After School Program Editorial.”
Community Centers At Schools
Why does the city build community centers in parks, but rarely at
schools? The current city budget faces a deﬁcit so deep that the mayor has
proposed closing half of the city’s community centers. Yet plans remain to
build or expand more community centers, even though the city doesn’t
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have the money to operate them. Instead of building more buildings, let’s
put the money into better school facilities that are jointly available to the
community. Our schools will get better facilities and our families will get
them in a place convenient for young people—at school. When we share
buildings, we can also share the cost of operating them.
School Playgrounds are the Parks for Many Neighborhoods
I believe that school playgrounds are neighborhood parks. The city
needs to view them that way. I will change city law, and ask for a charter
change if necessary, to make it easier to use city park funds to enhance
or add to school playground facilities. Our city’s Parks and Recreation
Commission should be involved in exploring the opportunities for us to
When I was on the city council, I worked with the local schools to im-
prove most every school playground in my downtown city council district.
The city money went much farther. The schools were more efﬁcient in
building playgrounds than the city. The projects were less expensive than
comparable city facilities. Plus, each school helped share the cost of the
improvements for each playground.
Taking On Gangs
I believe our city should form a joint powers agency with other agen-
cies to take on the problem of gangs in our community. Our schools need
the support of our police department as well as the county in dealing with
the problems of gangs. We need the support of our schools to identify and
help the young people who need to be protected from gangs. As a deputy
district attorney I know there is much more we can do together, than
separately, to take on the gang problem in San Jose. See www.BetterSan-
Jose.com/issues.cfm and select “gangs.”
Inspiring Youth with the Arts
I believe students should be exposed to arts in our schools. They build
self-esteem, discipline and an appreciation for the world around them.
Our city can help supplement or create school curriculum by expanding
opportunities for students to visit local arts groups. The cost of this is
minimal. Only 15% of the city’s students have this opportunity now.
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Mayor: A Voice for Education
Incredible challenges face teachers, parents, administrators and
school ofﬁcials in meeting the challenges of quality education—proﬁciency
in reading and writing, high school drop out rates, better school facilities,
equipment, and stafﬁng, and equal access to quality education to name
I don’t believe that parents and teachers have a powerful enough
voice in the decisions that are made in state government that directly
affect the quality of our schools. The mayor’s ofﬁce can help by strength-
ening the voice of the 13 separate school districts in our city.
I do believe that the mayor can and should do something far more sig-
niﬁcant than fund after-school programs and new playgrounds. I believe the
ofﬁce of mayor can become a powerful advocate for quality education in San
Jose. And I will offer that power to the schools in our community.
To learn how others outside the school system have helped lead
school reform (successfully and unsuccessfully) read the transcript to
the documentary by John Merrow entitled “A Tale of Three Cities: The
Mayor, The Minister & The General” at www.BetterSanJose.com/book and
click on “The Tale of Three Cities.”
A Better San Jose
About the Author
David and Catherine Pandori have been married for 23 years and
have lived in downtown San Jose on the same street for the last 20 years.
They have two children, Will and Laura.
David moved to San Jose in 1977. He graduated with honors from San
Jose State earning a degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis
in Urban Planning. He went on to graduate school at U.C. Berkeley and
earned a master’s degree in City Planning and a law degree from Hastings
College of the Law in San Francisco.
He worked for Mayor Tom McEnery on the funding and planning
for the San Jose Arena. As a resident, David Pandori volunteered with
Friends of Guadalupe River Park and led a successful drive to obtain $14
million in county park funds toward the park. More recently he helped
organize the Vendome Neighborhood Association. After practicing law,
David was elected to the San Jose City Council in 1990 at the age of
32. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1994. Instead of sending the usual
campaign junk mail, he wrote a book entitled How We Can Do Better—
Suggestions for Improving Neighborhoods and Using City Hall. Copies
of that book are available at the San Jose Public Library.
While on the City Council, David Pandori was known both for his
independence and for the projects he accomplished. He authored the
proposal to create San Jose’s Ethics Commission. He helped secure fund-
ing for Guadalupe River Park and Guadalupe Gardens, the renewal of
Roosevelt Park on East Santa Clara Street, the construction of the
Biblioteca Latinoamericana, and the Washington Youth Center. He
donated part of his salary over four years to provide scholarships to
graduates of San Jose High Academy.
Since leaving the City Council in 1998, David has worked as a Deputy
District Attorney prosecuting crime in Santa Clara County. He currently
prosecutes gang and career criminal cases.
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1090 Lincoln Avenue, #7
San Jose, CA 95125
for Mayor to make
San Jose Better.”
“David is the one to put San Jose back on track.
I have complete conﬁdence in him.”
—Tom McEnery, Former Mayor of San Jose
“ You always know where David stands on an issue.
He will always put San Jose ﬁrst.”
—Judy Stabile, Former San Jose Councilmember
“David Pandori has been one of the most ethical, intelligent
and hard-working Deputy District Attorneys in the history of
Santa Clara County. He is devoted to public service and
has been extraordinarily successful.”
—George Kennedy, Santa Clara County District Attorney
“David Pandori is a true champion of neighborhoods.”
—Tiralisa Kaplow, Co-Founder & Past Chair,
United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County*
*for identiﬁcation only
Paid for by Pandori for Mayor, FPPC# 1283358 Printed on recycled paper