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District 9
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Ph. (408) 535-4909
Fax (408) 292-6471

Email: district9@sanjoseca.gov
2017 Memorable Moments

San Jose District 9 - News Communication

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December Newsletter

In This Edition

Contact

Councilmember Donald Rocha
San José City Hall, District 9
200 E. Santa Clara St., 18th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113

Phone: (408) 535-4909
Fax: (408) 292-6471 
Website: http://sanjoseca.gov/district9
Email: District9@sanjoseca.gov

Dear Resident –

December is always a time to reflect on the accomplishments, and also the challenges, of the past year. Here at City Hall, my Council colleagues and I tackled tough issues and made some positive improvements during 2017 that I believe are worth noting. For me and my office, the list of policy and community work we undertook is long. I’d like to re-cap just a few of those highlights with you:

Water Rates

For the last few years, I’ve heard concerns from residents about high water rates. Most San Jose residents purchase water from a private utility, not the City, so in most cases the City doesn’t have control over rates. Private utility rates are set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a state agency.

The Commission’s decisions on rates affect San Jose residents, and they also affect the City’s bottom line, as our parks system consumes a significant amount of water. I issued a memo in August proposing that the City explore taking a larger role in monitoring and participating in CPUC decisions about water rates. At the October 24th City Council meeting, the Council approved a proposal issued by the Mayor, Councilmember Khamis and myself to send a letter on behalf of the City advocating on a pending CPUC rate decision and to monitor and potentially take action on future rate increase proposals. A few weeks later, both the Mayor and I attended a November 6th CPUC hearing on the proposed rate increase and, along with many well-organized San Jose residents, spoke to our community’s interest in reasonable water rates.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Affordable housing and homelessness continue to be a critical problem in our community. Last year, the voters of Santa Clara County approved the Measure A bond to construct affordable housing. One of the major challenges in implementing the bond is identifying sites on which affordable projects can be built. I submitted a letter to the County Board of Supervisors expressing my support and offering my thoughts on strategies for implementation. In an effort to expand the number of opportunity sites, I also joined together with Councilmembers Peralez and Jimenez on a proposal to allow more flexibility for affordable housing construction on small commercial sites that are vacant or underutilized. Affordable projects would only qualify for construction on commercial sites if a commercial component were also incorporated into the project, thereby allowing us to enhance both housing and commercial opportunities. The Council approved our proposal at the November 28 council meeting; the final draft of the policy will return to Council in the spring 

Park Maintenance

Throughout my time on the Council, I have tried to give detailed attention to one of our City’s most important assets – our park system. The state of our parks has really suffered over the years due to the difficult budget cuts that past circumstances forced upon us, as well as the severe drought. Even despite the hard work of our Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department to maintain our parks, persistent vacancies on our maintenance crews and funding cuts have left too many of our parks in deteriorating condition. In November of last year, I authored a rules memo asking for an assessment of our parks, budget proposal options for enhancements, and an update on the current staffing challenges PRNS is facing. In February, I authored a council memo recommending staff to develop a budget proposal for enhancements that would bring our parks up to a more acceptable level. Fortunately, over $600K was allocated toward neighborhood park maintenance through the 2017-2018 proposed budget – a step in the right direction toward getting our parks in shape. Once we can start filling some of our parks staff vacancies, this investment should greatly help remedy our maintenance shortfalls.

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Improvements

The safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists remains a constant priority for myself and residents, and this year we made significant traffic safety enhancements throughout District 9, particularly near several schools and dangerous intersections. Foxworthy experienced poor maintenance until the City paved the street last year, and now traffic has accelerated causing several speed-related incidents in that area. Electronic speed signs were installed at Foxworthy Avenue near Kirk Community Center, as well as Jacob Avenue near Reed Elementary and Curtner Avenue near Bagby Elementary to calm the traffic. There is potential funding for additional signage, and more locations are being considered. District 9 also experienced significant pavement maintenance enhancements, new lane striping, and bicycle lanes this year. Curtner, Jarvis, Kooser, Leigh, Los Gatos-Almaden, Narvaez, and Union were among the corridors that received these big enhancements. Crosswalk enhancements at Sartorette Elementary School, which had long been in the works, were also installed in early this year. John Muir Middle School also added crossing guards to help students cross at Branham and Speak Lanes. Additionally, Leigh High School, which is located at the busy intersection of Leigh and Los Gatos-Almaden, has some traffic and pedestrian safety improvements in the works, coming soon. And finally, Butcher Park, which has historically been a hot spot for motorhomes and RVs and raised quality of life concerns for residents living nearby, now has overnight parking restrictions. 

Cambrian Park Plaza

The Cambrian Plaza property was purchased a few years ago by Weingarten Real Estate Investment Trust.  Weingarten recently filed a development proposal for the site with the City (more information on their proposal can be found on the City website.)  The information on the website reflects the developer’s current proposal, but it’s possible this proposal could change over the course of the review process as the developer decides what kind of project they wish to pursue.  The City Council will ultimately make a decision on whether or not to approve this proposal, but before the issue goes to a vote, it’s very important that the City hear from the community.  If you would like to receive information about upcoming community meetings, please contact my office at District9@sanjoseca.gov and we will add you to our distribution list for this project.

Smoke-Free Housing 

During this year’s Council Priority Setting session, I recommended several policies that would improve public health and quality of life for many residents (outlined in my memo). One of those items was a smoke-free housing ordinance. In multi-family housing, many residents don’t have the option to escape tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke, which can easily drift into housing units from neighboring units, balconies, or patios, puts children and families at risk for cancer like lymphoma, leukemia, liver cancer, and brain tumors. Other levels of government are also trying to address this problem. In late 2016, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development published a rule requiring all public housing agencies who administer public housing to implement a smoke-free policy by July 2018. This is a great start, but only protects those who live in public housing. I proposed exploring a smoke-free housing ordinance that protects all residents, and my Council colleagues ended up voting to add it to our list of priorities. A stronger policy on flavored tobacco sales and a phase-out of gasoline powered leaf blowers were among two of the other initiatives I proposed that the City explore. Although they did not make it to the final priority list this time around, they are issues that affect the health of our community, particularly youth who are lured into flavored tobacco use, and are issues that have raised much concern from residents (View the Council Priority Session Results).

Free Tree Program

The Free Street Tree pilot program, which you may have read about in a previous newsletter, is an exciting project I implemented for the first time this year. With the help of Our City Forest’s wonderful staff, I solicited applications and selected 25 residents to receive free trees for their park strip, and funded the process from start to finish. Tomorrow, the trees are scheduled to be planted at those residents’ sites, and we get to see the project come to fruition. Overall, the project received tremendous interest and has been a huge success, so much so that I would like to do this project again next year.

I want to close by thanking everyone who has contacted my office, shared feedback, or participated in the civic process in one way or another this past year. Whether you attended a council or community meeting, wrote or called into your elected official, advocated for an issue important to you, or volunteered in your neighborhood, your concern and engagement is vital to the civic process.

As I enter my final term on the San Jose City Council, I look forward to continuing my service to San Jose residents to the best of my ability, and focusing on residents' safety and quality of life as top priorities.

Wishing you a warm holiday season.

Sincerely, 

Don Rocha
Councilmember, District 9

News & Announcements
Public Safety Town Hall 

Meet your emergency responders and get the latest home safety and crime prevention tips this holiday season at a Public Safety Town Hall on Saturday, December 9 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM at the Camden Community Center.  The meeting is hosted by Councilmembers Don Rocha and Johnny Khamis.  Representatives from the San Jose Police Department, Crime Prevention Unit, and Office of Emergency Management will give presentations.  (Lunch is not provided). To RSVP or obtain more information, contact Andrea at 408-535-4975 or Jose at 408-535-4979.


Bascom Avenue Streets Study Project Update

The Bascom Corridor Complete Streets Study is a joint project with the City of San Jose, City of Campbell, and the County of Santa Clara. This study evaluates 5.9 miles of Bascom Avenue from I-880 near the Bascom-Forest and Rose Garden neighborhoods in San Jose, past Valley Medical Center, the Pruneyard in Campbell, and down to the Farnham and Ponderosa neighborhoods near SR-85. Community input and an existing conditions evaluation helped create the framework for VTA by defining the issues, opportunities, goals, and objectives. VTA and partner agencies are currently moving towards the second round of community outreach in early 2018. For more information, please visit www.vta.org/bascomstudy.


Landscaping Projects at Camden

Camden Community Center will be experiencing several landscaping enhancements.  Phase 1 of the project will start on Monday, December 4.  Phase 1 will include the entry landscape plots located at the main entrance of the center.  As the work proceeds, the areas will be fenced off until completion.  For questions, please call 408-535-4909.


Caltrain Electrification Work in San Jose

Starting as soon as December 4, activities are scheduled to begin in San Jose as part of the Caltrain Electrification Project. Work beginning next week includes tree pruning/removal during the day. After tree pruning/removal occurs, crews will return to begin work on the foundations for the overhead contact system poles in early 2018. Tree pruning and removal work will take place during regular work hours of 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  For updates and more information, visit www.caltrain.com/PCEPconstruction.


Report Storm Related Issues

The Department of Transportation responds to calls on storm related issues. Typical calls include localized flooding, sewer back-ups, missing, broken or displaced manhole covers or grates, malfunctioning traffic signals, and downed trees or limbs.  Please call the 24-Hour Emergency Dispatch Center to report any of these issues.

(408) 794-1900 weekdays 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM
(408) 277-8956 all other times, including weekends/holiday


Holiday Garbage and Recycling

2017 – 2018 Holiday Collection Schedule - If your usual garbage, recycling, and yard trimmings collection or street sweeping day falls on or after the Thanksgiving holiday, your collection and sweep day will be one day later during that week. During the weeks of December 24 and 31, collection will be one day later both weeks.

Recycle Your Holiday Tree - Curbside collection of holiday trees will be on your regular collection day from December 26 to February 2. Remove stands, tinsel and decorations. Cut into 5-foot pieces. Set out by 6:00 AM.


Bill's Backyard Now Open

Bill's Backyard: Bridge to Nature is now open, a half acre outdoor play space that gives kids the chance to explore the outdoors by climbing, building, digging, and getting their hands dirty in a safe and authentic way.  Research shows that outdoor play in nature fosters curiosity, creativity, and problem solving skills. To plan your visit to the Children's Discovery Museum, visit www.cdm.org.


Volunteer with Our City Forest

It's always green season at Our City Forest.  Bring your friends and family to one of their community events or sign up for volunteer opportunities.  View the full calendar and sign up at http://www.ourcityforest.org/calendar.  The OCF nursery also hosts a large variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses available for the community, including California natives, drought tolerant, and disease resistant species.  For questions, please stop by or contact them!


Free Health Insurance Enrollment Assistance

Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) is providing FREE, expert help in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese to get you covered! Contact Yajaira, Outreach & Enrollment Coordinator, at (408) 975-2730 x 304 or yajaira.rodriguez@aaci.org to schedule a free, in-person visit or for more information.  Here are a few fast facts about getting covered:

Remember: you must sign up for Covered California before January 31!  It really is the law. If you don't get covered, you could face a penalty on your taxes next year of $695 or more.

Don't miss your chance to get covered and tell your friends why they should, too! 


Downtown Ice Now Open

Downtown Ice hosts thousands of families from all over the Bay Area for a traditional and unforgettable skating experience November 17 through January 15 at the Circle of Palms, 120 S. Market St.  The rink will also be an attraction for the thousands of families and fans coming to downtown San Jose December 29 through January 7 for the U.S. Figuring Skating National Championships, where selections for the U.S. Olympic team will be made.  For hours, pricing, and specials, visit www.downtownicesj.com.


Download the MySanJose App

The City of San Jose is proud to present My San Jose, a state-of-the-art mobile tool that allows you to quickly and easily report common service requests such as potholes, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, streetlight outages, and illegal dumping. You can also report through the web portal at http://sanjoseca.gov/mysanjoseDownload the app today.


Host a Neighborhood Watch Meeting

Did you know... That most residential burglaries occur during daylight hours?  How burglars can tell at a glance which homes are easy targets?  What to do if you see a suspicious person on your street? That crime rates in Neighborhood Watch communities can be greatly reduced through the simple, common sense measures you can learn by attending a Neighborhood Watch meeting?

SJPD is anxious to help residents implement Neighborhood Watch in their own neighborhoods. For more information or to set up a meeting, call 408-277-4133.


Junk Pick-Up Program
Large Item Pick-Up

Do you have junk, such as old mattresses, sofas, refrigerators, or tires, cluttering up your home or garage? San José residents in homes with garbage cart service can schedule two free junk pickup appointments per year of three large items each.  Free large item pick up does not apply for areas in the unincorporated County

Call to schedule your pickup:

  • Homes with garbage cart service in downtown, north, east, and south San Jose, call California Waste Solutions at (408) 213-7800
  • Homes with garbage cart service in west San Jose, call GreenTeam of San Jose at (408) 282-4400
  • Not sure? Look up your recycling collection company

Visit www.sjenvironment.org/junkpickup for more information. Help keep our neighborhood clean by reporting illegal dumping: 408-535-3500.


Upcoming Events
SoFA Farmer's Market

Sundays, now through December 31, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Parking lot across from California Theatre, 300 block of South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113

The SoFA Farmer’s Market takes place every Sunday, and features at least 16 vendors, with farm fresh certified organic produce, flowers, hummus and more.  The market also features a pop-up 1500 square foot park with turf, games, live music, arts & crafts, and musical instruments for the kids.


Women in Law Enforcement Seminar

Saturday, December 2, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
San Jose Police Substation, 6087 Great Oaks Parkway, San Jose, CA 95119

You are invited to a seminar to gain knowledge about a career as a female police officer with the San Jose Police Department. Learn about the life of a woman in a police uniform, understand the SJPD background check process, and speak with female officers, dispatchers, and community service officers.  RSVP or obtain more information online.  For questions, please contact the Recruiting Unit at 3554@sanjoseca.gov.


Los Lagos Golf Course Public Meetings

Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services staff will present the results of the community engagement process on the future of the Los Lagos Golf Course. For questions, please contact Abraham Chacko at 408-793-5523.

  • Parks & Recreation Commission - December 6, 5:30 PM, City Hall Wing Rooms
  • Neighborhood Services & Education Committee - December 14, 1:30 PM, City Hall Wing Rooms
  • San Jose City Council - January 9, 1:30 PM, City Hall Council Chambers

SJ Youth Shakespeare: A Christmas Carol

Sunday, December 10, 2:00 PM
We and Our Neighbors Club House, 15480 Union Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124

Join the San Jose Youth Shakespeare for a special production of A Christmas Carol to benefit the We and Our Neighbors club house.  The cost is $10.00 per person, and can be purchased at www.youthshakes.org


Transportation & Affordable Housing Town Hall

Thursday, December 14, 7:00 PM
Gardner Academy School, 502 Illinois Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125

Meet with State Senator Jim Beall, County Supervisor Dave Cortese, and Councilmembers Raul Peralez and Dev Davis to discuss California High Speed Rail, affordable housing, noise level impacts produced by freeway and railroad lines, and more. Hosted by the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association and Gardner Neighborhood Association. 


Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, December 16, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Camden Community Center, 3369 Union Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124

Start off your holiday season with a holiday breakfast catered by HH catering, some holiday crafts, and of course a visit with Santa!  Children can also drop off their letters to Santa in the Camden mailbox and staff will be sure to personally deliver them.  Cost is $11 per guest 16 months and up, and free for children under 16 months.  For more information, please call 408-559-8553.


Resources

Abandoned Vehicles (408) 535-3500
Code Enforcement (408) 535-7770
Crime Prevention  (408) 277-4133
Homeless Concerns (408) 975-1440
Homeless Helpline (408) 510-7600
Illegal Dumping (408) 535-3500
Librarian (408) 808-3080
Police Emergency 911 (408) 277-8911 (cell phone)
Police Non-Emergency 311 (408) 277-8900 (cell phone)
Park & Trail Concerns (408) 793-5510 (voicemail only)
Permits (408) 535-3555
Streetlight Repair (408) 794-1903 (7 am - 4 pm), (408) 277-8956 (after hours)
Traffic Lights (408) 794-1900
 

Contact the District 9 Team

Shirley Goings Executive Assistant
Peter Hamilton Chief of Staff
Scott Hughes Policy Aide
Andrea Hyde Policy Aide
Patrick Falzer Policy Aide
Frank Ponciano Policy Aide


      


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